Background: Antidepressant (AD) therapy has been shown to improve post-stroke depressive symptoms, yet few data are available on characteristics associated with treatment at the time of discharge after ischemic stroke.
Methods: PROSPER is a PCORI-funded study designed by researchers and stroke survivors to evaluate the effectiveness of therapies post-stroke. We used information from ischemic stroke patients discharged from April 2014 - December 2014 in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke registry who were linked to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data to evaluate antidepressant medication use following hospitalization for ischemic stroke.
Results: Of 29,177 eligible patients from 1,023 hospitals, n=7,593 (26.0%) were prescribed AD at hospital discharge. The majority of discharge AD prescriptions were for an SSRI (70.6%) and in patients with history of depression and on AD prior to admission. Patients discharged on an AD were more likely to be female, of white race, and to have a prior history of cardiovascular diseases (Table). Discharge AD prescription was more common at teaching hospitals, hospitals with larger bed size and higher annual volume of ischemic stroke admissions. Amongst the patients who were not on AD prior to admission (22,437), only 8.1% were discharged on AD. Patients discharged on AD amongst AD naïve population were more likely to be female, of white race, had prior history of depression, had higher initial NIHSS and more likely to be discharged to a facility.
Conclusions: Among CMS linked patients, antidepressant prescription after ischemic stroke is low and varies by key patient and hospital level characteristics. Future research examining the association between discharge AD use and patient reported outcomes after stroke is needed.