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Cognitive Effects of Paroxetine in Older Depressed Patients

Robert D. Nebes, PhD; Bruce G. Pollock, MD, PhD; Benoit H. Mulsant, MD; Meryl A. Butters, PhD; Michelle D. Zmuda; and Charles F. Reynolds III, MD

Published: August 1, 1999

Article Abstract

This study examined whether paroxetine produces cognitive toxicity in elderly patients suffering from a major depressive episode. Twenty-nine depressed patients with a wide range of cognitive functioning were treated with paroxetine. At baseline and during 6 weeks of treatment, patients were asked to complete various measures of cognitive function and had blood drawn to determine serum anticholinergicity. Measures of attention and cognitive speed showed significant improvement with treatment, while the memory performance remained unchanged. A similar pattern of results was found in both cognitively impaired and intact patients. The slight increase in serum anticholinergicity seen in some elderly patients did not significantly impair cognitive function, even in patients with a preexisting cognitive impairment.

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