Cognitive outcomes after sertaline treatment in patients with depression of Alzheimer disease

Cynthia A. Munro, Crystal Flynn Longmire, Lea A Drye, Barbara K. Martin, Constantine E. Frangakis, Curtis L. Meinert, Jacobo E. Mintzer, Anton P. Porsteinsson, Peter V. Rabins, Paul B. Rosenberg, Lon S. Schneider, Daniel Weintraub, Constantine G. Lyketsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objectives: Although many depressed patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) are treated with antidepressants, the effect of such treatment on cognitive performance in these patients is not known. The authors report cognitive outcomes in patients with depression of AD (dAD) after a 24-week trial of sertraline or placebo. Design: Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind trial. Setting: Outpatient memory clinics at five academic medical centers in the United States. Participants: A total of 131 patients with dAD (60 men) and Mini-Mental State Examination scores of 10-26. INTERVENTION:: Sertraline (n = 67), target dose of 100 mg daily or matching placebo (n = 64). Caregivers received standardized psychosocial intervention throughout the trial. Measurements: Mini-Mental State Examination, cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale, letter fluency, backward digit span, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, and Finger Tapping Test, administered at baseline, and 8, 16, and 24 weeks following baseline. Results: A series of linear models indicated no effect of treatment or of depression remission on cognitive test performance at 24 weeks. Regardless of treatment condition, very little change in cognitive test performance was noted in general. Conclusions: Treatment with sertraline in patients with dAD is not associated with greater improvement in cognition at week 24 than treatment with placebo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1036-1044
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Alzheimer disease
  • clinical trial
  • cognitive
  • depression
  • neuropsychology
  • sertraline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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