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Cognitive improvement following SSRI treatment in patients with traumatic brain injury
National Academy of Neuropsychology, 25th Annual Meeting (2005)
  • Sarah Levin Allen
  • D.J. Keating
  • J.L. Gallo
  • Steven M. Platek
Objective: To determine if selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) differentially
improve cognitive functioning in patients with TBI. This research is based on a 2004 case
study of a patient who showed improvement following the administration of Sertraline. Thus,
we attempted to replicate this finding using a larger group of patients. Method: Three males
and two females with TBIs incurred over 2 years ago and taking an SSRI for more than 6
months participated. Subjects were excluded for history of depression pre-injury requiring
treatment with medication. One subject was unable to complete the performance section due
to a tremor, therefore only verbal scores are reported. Assessments with a WAIS-II or a WASI
were compared pre-SSRI (>11 months post-injury) and post-SSRI administration. The study
was conducted in an outpatient rehabilitation facility at Bancroft NeuroHealth in New Jersey.
Results: Most subjects showed improvement after SSRI administration as measured by the
WASI. The subject on Zoloft improved the most, followed by the subject on Celexa, a subject
on Prozac, and two subjects on Paxil. The subjects on Paxil showed either no improvement or
declined on both verbal and performance measures. Statistical significance could not be determined
due to the limitation in sample size, however three of five subjects showed clinically
significant improvements. Conclusions: These results highlight the need for further study in
this area. They also suggest that cognitive functioning is correlated with the amount of serotonin
available in the brain, which might be best regulated with Zoloft. Possible explanations
for study findings are discussed.
Publication Date
October, 2005
Abstract of presentation at the 25th Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, October 2005.
Citation Information
Sarah Levin Allen, D.J. Keating, J.L. Gallo and Steven M. Platek. "Cognitive improvement following SSRI treatment in patients with traumatic brain injury" National Academy of Neuropsychology, 25th Annual Meeting (2005)
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