Nortriptyline treatment of post-stroke depression: a double-blind study

Lancet. 1984 Feb 11;1(8372):297-300. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(84)90356-8.


The efficacy of nortriptyline in the treatment of post-stroke depression was assessed by a double-blind study in thirty-four patients. Half of the patients had major depression. There was a significantly greater improvement in depression in patients treated with nortriptyline than in a similar group of placebo-treated patients. Depression was measured by the Hamilton depression scale, Zung depression scale, present state examination, and an overall depression scale. Successfully treated patients had serum nortriptyline levels in the therapeutic range. Post-stroke depressions are common, severe, and longstanding, and the demonstrated efficacy of nortriptyline provides an important addition to the treatments available for stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / psychology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / psychology
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / complications
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / psychology
  • Nortriptyline / blood
  • Nortriptyline / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Nortriptyline