Antidepressant medication use in adults undergoing recovery and rehabilitation following acquired brain injury

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Depression is increasingly recognised as a common sequel to brain injury and the use of antidepressant medication in this context has increased markedly over recent years. However, these drugs are not without side effects – some of them serious – and they should not be used without proper evaluation and monitoring to guide clinicians working with people who have brain injury of any cause (eg stroke, trauma, anoxia or infection).

The aim of this guideline is to clarify when it may be appropriate to use antidepressants and to provide guidance on an acceptable approach to managing mild to moderate degrees of depression in the context of recovery and rehabilitation following acquired brain injury (ABI). It is aimed at general physicians, GPs and other clinicians involved in the management and rehabilitation of patients with ABI, and includes specially written information for patients and their families and carers.