SSRIs and cognitive performance in a working sample
Wadsworth EJ, Moss SC, Simpson SA, Smith AP.
Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology,
Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
Hum Psychopharmacol. 2005 Oct 4


BACKGROUND: Studies of the impact of antidepressant use on cognitive performance have frequently been carried out among the elderly or on healthy volunteers. Comparatively little research has considered their impact on a relatively young, working population, particularly within the context of everyday life. AIMS: To examine any association between SSRI use and cognitive performance, mood and human error at work. METHODS: SSRI users and controls completed a battery of laboratory based computer tasks measuring mood and cognitive function pre- and post-work at the start and end of a working week. They also completed daily diaries reporting their work performance. RESULTS: SSRI use was associated with memory impairment: specifically poorer episodic, though not working or semantic memory. Effects of SSRI use on recognition memory seemed to vary according to the underlying psychopathology, while effects on delayed recall were most pronounced among those whose symptoms had not (yet) resolved. There were no detrimental effects on psychomotor speed, attention, mood or perceived human error at work. CONCLUSIONS: The findings lend support to the SSRIs comparative safety, even among workers, particularly as the symptoms of the underlying psychopathology are successfully addressed. Possible memory impairments may, however, be found in those taking SSRIs.
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