The efficacy comparison of citalopram, fluoxetine, and placebo on motor recovery after ischemic stroke: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective:

The present study aimed to assess the effectiveness of oral citalopram, compared with fluoxetine and a placebo, in patients with post-stroke motor disabilities.

Design:

A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted between January 2015 and January 2016.

Setting:

The neurology department of a university-affiliated urban hospital in Tehran, Iran.

Subjects:

Ninety adult patients with acute ischemic stroke, hemiplegia, or hemiparesis and a Fugl-Meyer Motor Scale score of below 55 were included.

Interventions:

Participants were randomly allocated to one of three groups: Group A received 20 mg PO of fluoxetine daily, Group B received 20 mg PO of citalopram daily, and Group C received a placebo PO The duration of the therapy was 90 days. In addition to the medications, all of the participants received physiotherapy.

Main measures:

Functional status at 90 days, which was measured by the Fugl-Meyer Motor Scale score.

Results:

The initial mean (SD) Fugl-Meyer Motor Scale scores for the placebo, fluoxetine, and citalopram groups were 18.2 (11.42), 20.08 (14.53), and 17.07 (14.92), respectively. After 90 days, the scores were 27.96 (18.71) for the placebo group, 52.42 (26.24) for the fluoxetine group, and 50.89 (27.17) for the citalopram group. Compared with the placebo group, the mean Fugl-Meyer Motor Scale scores showed significant increases in the fluoxetine and citalopram groups (P = 0.001).

Conclusion:

There was no significant difference between citalopram and fluoxetine in facilitating post-stroke motor recovery in ischemic stroke patients. However, compared with a placebo, both drugs improved post-stroke motor function.

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