Antidepressant Use and Risk of Recurrent Stroke: A Population-Based Nested Case-Control Study

Approximately 30% of individuals that have had a stroke are also diagnosed with depression, and although antidepressant therapy is recommended in patients with post-stroke depression, there are no guidelines for choosing therapy options. For this reason, a study was conducted to determine the relationship between the use of various classes of antidepressant medications and the recurrence of stokes. This longitudinal study analyzed health insurance database information of adults over the age of 18 who had a stroke and were readmitted with this condition. Around 10,000 patient cases were included in the study results (6,679 controls; 3,536 cases).  The study found that there was not an increased risk of stroke recurrence in patients taking SSRIs for depression; however, a correlation was found in patients being treated with TCAs (1.41 times increase). The risk for stroke recurrence in patients taking TCAs did not show much differentiation when analyzing dose and treatment duration variations. As a result, the study highly recommends using alternative methods of treatment for depression symptoms in patients who have experienced a stroke.

I believe this article is important to the understanding of pharmaceutical care due to the fact that antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications. As healthcare professional that prioritize on the safety of treatment methods, we should be aware of medication contraindications so that we can provide the best patient care. Although all healthcare professionals look out for the best interests of the patient, pharmacists specialize on medications and thus will have the best knowledge on the potential dangers associated with treatment methods. This study makes me want to learn more about specific medication contraindications so that I will no how to protect patients health after graduation from pharmacy school.



1 thought on “Antidepressant Use and Risk of Recurrent Stroke: A Population-Based Nested Case-Control Study”

  1. I found this article very interesting. This is the first time I have heard of a correlation between antidepressants and occurrence of strokes. Since antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed medications, it is the responsibility of the pharmacist to ensure that they are being used effectively and properly. Since pharmacists are the medication experts, they must be able to determine if the patient really should be on a specific antidepressant given their previous medical history. I feel as though physicians often resort to medications as a first line of therapy for patients with depression or anxiety but often times this is not the best decision. The physician can actually be placing the patient at risk by prescribing them an antidepressant unknowingly. The pharmacist has a duty to asses a patient profile and determine if medication is the appropriate therapy for the patient.

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