Use of Antidepressant Medications To Improve Outcomes After Stroke
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Interest in the use of antidepressants after stroke has been renewed by better knowledge of poststroke depression, but mainly by the capacity of some of them to promote functional recovery of nondepressed subjects. Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator thrombolysis within the first few hours after the stroke is currently the only validated treatment able to improve the spontaneous—and most of the time incomplete—recovery of neurological functions after stroke. However, we have learned from research over the last decade, in part based on the considerable improvement of neuroimaging techniques, that spontaneous recovery of neurological functions is associated with a large intracerebral reorganization of the damaged human brain. The question of whether lesioned-brain plasticity can be modulated by external factors such as pharmacological antidepressant agents is now being addressed with the aim of improving recovery and reducing the final disability of patients. Poststroke depression is known to be frequent and deleterious for patient outcome. We review the interest in the use of antidepressants after stroke in classic but often neglected poststroke depression and we strongly underline the action of some antidepressants in promoting functional recovery of nondepressed patients after stroke.
KeywordsStroke Recovery Depression Antidepressants Fluoxetine Brain plasticity Motor function Monoaminergic drugs
No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.
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