HealthDay News — Sertraline seems to be efficacious for preventing depressive disorders after traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. In this study, the number of patients needed to treat to prevent depression after TBI was approximately 6 when compared with placebo. 

Ricardo E. Jorge, MD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a placebo-controlled trial at a university hospital with 24-week follow-up. A total of 534 patients (aged 18 to 85 years) hospitalized for mild, moderate, or severe TBI were eligible for the study; 94 of these were randomized to either placebo (46 patients) or sertraline (48 patients). Seventy-nine patients completed the study.

The researchers found that to prevent depression at 24 weeks after TBI, the number needed to treat was 5.9 for sertraline treatment versus placebo (P = .03). Sertraline had no influence in the course of neuropsychological variables. The intervention was well tolerated, with mild adverse effects in both the sertraline and placebo groups.

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“Future studies should replicate these findings in a large sample of patients with TBI and depict their long-term physical, cognitive, behavioral, and functional outcomes,” the authors write.

Disclosures: Dr Jorge reported receiving lecture honoraria from Xiang-Jansen Pharmaceuticals. Dr Robinson reported receiving compensation for participation in an advisory committee meeting sponsored by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, lecture honorarium from Xiang-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, research funding from the Senator Financial Group, royalties from Cambridge University Press, and serving as a consultant to Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.

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Jorge RE, Acion L, Burin DI, Robinson RG. Sertraline for preventing mood disorders following traumatic brain injury: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Sept 14; doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.2189.