A controlled clinical trial of sertraline in the treatment of depression in nursing home patients with late-stage Alzheimer's disease

Carol Magai, Gary Kennedy, Carl I. Cohen, David Gomberg

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A sample of 31 female nursing home patients with late-stage Alzheimer's disease participated in a double-blind clinical trial of the antidepressant medication sertraline. Measures of depression included various objective scales and two measures of facial expressions of emotion coded during a semistructured interview using a facial affect coding system. Repeated- measures ANOVAs at baseline and at the 8-week endpoint indicated that on all measures, both the treatment and placebo groups improved over time, with three of six measures showing a significant time effect. The 'knit-brow' facial measure approached significance for a Treatment x Time effect. Thus, sertraline had no significant benefits over placebo. However, if as we hypothesize, the knit-brow response is more sensitive to signs of depression in advanced dementia, our study justifies the further investigation of the use of sertraline in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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