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Cognitive/behavioural function in long term SSRI antidepressant use


  • Dr C Dowson [Public Health & General Practice, SMHS, UOC]
  • Assoc Prof D Mangin [Public Health & General Practice, SMHS, UOC]
  • Prof R Mulder [Dept Psychological Medicine, SMHS, UOC]

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ‘SSRIs’ are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drug class in New Zealand. Increasing numbers of people are prescribed SSRI’s such as fluoxetine for maintenance treatment to prevent recurrence once they have recovered from an episode of depression.

There are suggestions that these medications may impair cognitive and behavioural functioning in some people. If true, this would be an important consideration in decisions about long term use.

The aims of this study are to determine whether there are cognitive and behavioural adverse effects in those who remain on the SSRI fluoxetine as long term maintenance treatment after they have recovered from depression.

If there are such deficits a further aim is to identify if there are certain “at risk” sub-groups.

Participants will be drawn from a recently commenced longitudinal randomised controlled trial of long term fluoxetine maintenance treatment where participants are randomised to either continuing on fluoxetine or a tapered withdrawal to placebo.

This proposed study will assess all consenting participants in both randomised groups (withdrawal and continuation) at the 6 month data visit for the ACT study.

Funded by

logo - Canterbury Medical Research Foundation

Canterbury Medical Research Foundation