Antidepressant might help prevent effects of stroke

February 2, 2010 2:53:33 PM PST
An antidepressant may give doctors another way to prevent disability in people who suffer a stroke.

A new study finds Lexapro may help protect key thinking functions if taken soon after a stroke.

The study found patients who took Lexapro recovered more of their thinking, learning, and memory skills than others who had counseling-type therapy or who were given a placebo.

Doctors often rush to give clot-busting drugs to stroke patients to prevent permanent disability.

The study in the Journal of the Archives of General Psychiatry found giving antidepressants within months after a stroke may have this added benefit.

Authors say, there is increasing evidence that antidepressants cause changes in key brain structures that are needed for memory and thinking, and that may help explain the memory improvement.