Citalopram improves dexterity in chronic stroke patients

Neurorehabil Neural Repair. May-Jun 2008;22(3):311-4. doi: 10.1177/1545968307312173. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Abstract

Background: A majority of stroke patients have persisting motor deficits despite ongoing physiotherapy. Therefore, additional treatment options are desirable.

Objective: We investigated if the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, citalopram, would improve motor functions in chronic stroke patients.

Methods: In all, 8 patients >6 months after their stroke participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-dose crossover experiment. The order (first drug then placebo or vice versa) was randomized. Sessions were separated by at least 2 weeks. Motor function was assessed by nine-hole peg test, and measurements of hand grip-strength before drug intake, 2 hours after drug intake, and after 1 hour of training aimed at improving the function of the paretic hand.

Results: Compared with placebo, citalopram intake significantly improved performance of the nine-hole peg test for the paretic hand but not for the unaffected hand. Hand grip-strength remained unchanged.

Conclusions: A single dose of citalopram can enhance dexterity in chronic stroke patients. This pilot study justifies a test of efficacy of citalopram in a larger group of stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Citalopram / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiopathology
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Paresis / drug therapy*
  • Paresis / etiology
  • Paresis / physiopathology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Citalopram