HealthDay News — Sertraline seems to be efficacious for preventing depressive disorders after traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published online September 14 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ricardo E. Jorge, MD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a placebo-controlled trial at a university hospital with 24-week follow-up. A total of 534 patients (aged 18 to 85 years) hospitalized for mild, moderate, or severe TBI were eligible for the study; 94 of these were randomized to either placebo (46 patients) or sertraline (48 patients). Seventy-nine patients completed the study.

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The researchers found that to prevent depression at 24 weeks after TBI, the number needed to treat was 5.9 for sertraline treatment versus placebo (P=0.03). Sertraline had no influence in the course of neuropsychological variables. The intervention was well tolerated, with mild adverse effects in both the sertraline and placebo groups.

“Future studies should replicate these findings in a large sample of patients with TBI and depict their long-term physical, cognitive, behavioral, and functional outcomes,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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