Cognitive / behavioural function in long term SSRI antidepressant use
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ‘SSRIs’ – (the oldest of which is fluoxetine (Prozac)) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drug class in New Zealand. Medium-term use is standard treatment now and increasing numbers of people are prescribed SSRIs for maintenance treatment in the long term to prevent recurrence once they have recovered. There are suggestions that these medications may impair cognitive and behavioural functioning in some people. If true, this would be an important consideration in decisions about long term use. This project has the potential to answer this important clinical question i.e., are there cognitive and behavioural deficits in those who remain on an SSRI when not depressed. The previous studies of depressed people on SSRIs have signaled that deficits may exist, particularly in frontal lobe functioning, memory and attention, however findings have been unreliable due to methodological weaknesses.