Antidepressants and Their Effect on Cognition in Major Depressive Disorder




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Cognitive functioning is a symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD) that deserves particular attention by clinicians and researchers. Despite the fact that cognitive dysfunction represents a symptom of MDD as well as a functional outcome measure, cognition has been insufficiently investigated in antidepressant trials. While, until recently, few placebo-controlled trials have measured cognition in MDD, those examples which did have consisted of older adults. Of agents tested thus far in placebo-controlled trials (citalopram, duloxetine, vortioxetine), only the latter has been studied in patients aged 18–65, and only the latter has been shown to be superior to placebo in improving measures of executive functioning and to do so across adult age groups. Both duloxetine and vortioxetine appear to result in greater improvements than placebo in immediate and delayed memory. Clinicians who wish to improve the psychosocial recovery of patients with MDD should be familiar with studies of new options for treatment.

From the Clinical Trials Network and Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

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J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(8):e1046