To examine the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of depression following traumatic brain injury (TBI).Design:
Systematic review and meta-analysis. Multiple electronic databases were searched to identify relevant studies examining effectiveness of pharmacotherapy for depression post-TBI. Clinical trials evaluating the use of pharmacotherapy in individuals with depression at baseline and using standardized assessments of depression were included. Data abstracted included sample size, antidepressant used, treatment timing/duration, method of assessment, and results pertaining to impact of treatment. Study quality was assessed using a modified Jadad scale.Results:
Nine studies met criteria for inclusion. Pooled analyses based on reported means (standard deviations) from repeated assessments of depression showed that, over time, antidepressant treatment was associated with a significant effect in favor of treatment (Hedges g = 1.169; 95% confidence interval, 0.849-1.489; P < .001). Similarly, when limited to placebo-controlled trials, treatment was associated with a significant reduction in symptoms (standardized mean difference = 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.314-1.366; P = .002).Conclusion:
Pharmacotherapy after TBI may be associated with a reduction in depressive symptomatology. Given limitations within the available literature, further well-powered, placebo-controlled trials should be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of antidepressant therapy in this population.