Effects of fluoxetine on functional outcomes after acute stroke (FOCUS): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial

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Abstract

Background
Results of small trials indicate that fluoxetine might improve functional outcomes after stroke. The FOCUS trial aimed to provide a precise estimate of these effects.
Methods
FOCUS was a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel group, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial done at 103 hospitals in the UK. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years or older, had a clinical stroke diagnosis, were enrolled and randomly assigned between 2 days and 15 days after onset, and had focal neurological deficits. Patients were randomly allocated fluoxetine 20 mg or matching placebo orally once daily for 6 months via a web-based system by use of a minimisation algorithm. The primary outcome was functional status, measured with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), at 6 months. Patients, carers, health-care staff, and the trial team were masked to treatment allocation. Functional status was assessed at 6 months and 12 months after randomisation. Patients were analysed according to their treatment allocation. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN83290762.
Findings
Between Sept 10, 2012, and March 31, 2017, 3127 patients were recruited. 1564 patients were allocated fluoxetine and 1563 allocated placebo. mRS data at 6 months were available for 1553 (99·3%) patients in each treatment group. The distribution across mRS categories at 6 months was similar in the fluoxetine and placebo groups (common odds ratio adjusted for minimisation variables 0·951 [95% CI 0·839–1·079]; p=0·439). Patients allocated fluoxetine were less likely than those allocated placebo to develop new depression by 6 months (210 [13·43%] patients vs 269 [17·21%]; difference 3·78% [95% CI 1·26–6·30]; p=0·0033), but they had more bone fractures (45 [2·88%] vs 23 [1·47%]; difference 1·41% [95% CI 0·38–2·43]; p=0·0070). There were no significant differences in any other event at 6 or 12 months.
Interpretation
Fluoxetine 20 mg given daily for 6 months after acute stroke does not seem to improve functional outcomes. Although the treatment reduced the occurrence of depression, it increased the frequency of bone fractures. These results do not support the routine use of fluoxetine either for the prevention of post-stroke depression or to promote recovery of function.
Funding
UK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265–274
JournalThe Lancet
Volume393
Early online date5 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Fluoxetine
Randomized Controlled Trials
Stroke
Placebos
Bone Fractures
Biomedical Technology Assessment
Recovery of Function
Therapeutics
Random Allocation
Caregivers
Registries
Odds Ratio
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • acute stroke
  • fluoxetine

Cite this

@article{f682ead95278481cb18344b08699c6bf,
title = "Effects of fluoxetine on functional outcomes after acute stroke (FOCUS): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial",
abstract = "BackgroundResults of small trials indicate that fluoxetine might improve functional outcomes after stroke. The FOCUS trial aimed to provide a precise estimate of these effects.MethodsFOCUS was a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel group, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial done at 103 hospitals in the UK. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years or older, had a clinical stroke diagnosis, were enrolled and randomly assigned between 2 days and 15 days after onset, and had focal neurological deficits. Patients were randomly allocated fluoxetine 20 mg or matching placebo orally once daily for 6 months via a web-based system by use of a minimisation algorithm. The primary outcome was functional status, measured with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), at 6 months. Patients, carers, health-care staff, and the trial team were masked to treatment allocation. Functional status was assessed at 6 months and 12 months after randomisation. Patients were analysed according to their treatment allocation. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN83290762.FindingsBetween Sept 10, 2012, and March 31, 2017, 3127 patients were recruited. 1564 patients were allocated fluoxetine and 1563 allocated placebo. mRS data at 6 months were available for 1553 (99·3{\%}) patients in each treatment group. The distribution across mRS categories at 6 months was similar in the fluoxetine and placebo groups (common odds ratio adjusted for minimisation variables 0·951 [95{\%} CI 0·839–1·079]; p=0·439). Patients allocated fluoxetine were less likely than those allocated placebo to develop new depression by 6 months (210 [13·43{\%}] patients vs 269 [17·21{\%}]; difference 3·78{\%} [95{\%} CI 1·26–6·30]; p=0·0033), but they had more bone fractures (45 [2·88{\%}] vs 23 [1·47{\%}]; difference 1·41{\%} [95{\%} CI 0·38–2·43]; p=0·0070). There were no significant differences in any other event at 6 or 12 months.InterpretationFluoxetine 20 mg given daily for 6 months after acute stroke does not seem to improve functional outcomes. Although the treatment reduced the occurrence of depression, it increased the frequency of bone fractures. These results do not support the routine use of fluoxetine either for the prevention of post-stroke depression or to promote recovery of function.FundingUK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.",
keywords = "acute stroke , fluoxetine",
author = "Marian Brady",
note = "Acceptance date requested (dummy holding date added) OA article GCU is one of >1000 authors on paper as part of the group author listed. ET 18/1/19 Funding note: UK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "19",
doi = "10.1016/ S0140-6736(18)32983-0",
language = "English",
volume = "393",
pages = "265–274",

}

Effects of fluoxetine on functional outcomes after acute stroke (FOCUS): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. / ; Brady, Marian.

In: The Lancet, Vol. 393, 19.01.2019, p. 265–274.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of fluoxetine on functional outcomes after acute stroke (FOCUS): a pragmatic, double-blind, randomised, controlled trial

AU - Brady, Marian

N1 - Acceptance date requested (dummy holding date added) OA article GCU is one of >1000 authors on paper as part of the group author listed. ET 18/1/19 Funding note: UK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme

PY - 2019/1/19

Y1 - 2019/1/19

N2 - BackgroundResults of small trials indicate that fluoxetine might improve functional outcomes after stroke. The FOCUS trial aimed to provide a precise estimate of these effects.MethodsFOCUS was a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel group, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial done at 103 hospitals in the UK. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years or older, had a clinical stroke diagnosis, were enrolled and randomly assigned between 2 days and 15 days after onset, and had focal neurological deficits. Patients were randomly allocated fluoxetine 20 mg or matching placebo orally once daily for 6 months via a web-based system by use of a minimisation algorithm. The primary outcome was functional status, measured with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), at 6 months. Patients, carers, health-care staff, and the trial team were masked to treatment allocation. Functional status was assessed at 6 months and 12 months after randomisation. Patients were analysed according to their treatment allocation. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN83290762.FindingsBetween Sept 10, 2012, and March 31, 2017, 3127 patients were recruited. 1564 patients were allocated fluoxetine and 1563 allocated placebo. mRS data at 6 months were available for 1553 (99·3%) patients in each treatment group. The distribution across mRS categories at 6 months was similar in the fluoxetine and placebo groups (common odds ratio adjusted for minimisation variables 0·951 [95% CI 0·839–1·079]; p=0·439). Patients allocated fluoxetine were less likely than those allocated placebo to develop new depression by 6 months (210 [13·43%] patients vs 269 [17·21%]; difference 3·78% [95% CI 1·26–6·30]; p=0·0033), but they had more bone fractures (45 [2·88%] vs 23 [1·47%]; difference 1·41% [95% CI 0·38–2·43]; p=0·0070). There were no significant differences in any other event at 6 or 12 months.InterpretationFluoxetine 20 mg given daily for 6 months after acute stroke does not seem to improve functional outcomes. Although the treatment reduced the occurrence of depression, it increased the frequency of bone fractures. These results do not support the routine use of fluoxetine either for the prevention of post-stroke depression or to promote recovery of function.FundingUK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.

AB - BackgroundResults of small trials indicate that fluoxetine might improve functional outcomes after stroke. The FOCUS trial aimed to provide a precise estimate of these effects.MethodsFOCUS was a pragmatic, multicentre, parallel group, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial done at 103 hospitals in the UK. Patients were eligible if they were aged 18 years or older, had a clinical stroke diagnosis, were enrolled and randomly assigned between 2 days and 15 days after onset, and had focal neurological deficits. Patients were randomly allocated fluoxetine 20 mg or matching placebo orally once daily for 6 months via a web-based system by use of a minimisation algorithm. The primary outcome was functional status, measured with the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), at 6 months. Patients, carers, health-care staff, and the trial team were masked to treatment allocation. Functional status was assessed at 6 months and 12 months after randomisation. Patients were analysed according to their treatment allocation. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN83290762.FindingsBetween Sept 10, 2012, and March 31, 2017, 3127 patients were recruited. 1564 patients were allocated fluoxetine and 1563 allocated placebo. mRS data at 6 months were available for 1553 (99·3%) patients in each treatment group. The distribution across mRS categories at 6 months was similar in the fluoxetine and placebo groups (common odds ratio adjusted for minimisation variables 0·951 [95% CI 0·839–1·079]; p=0·439). Patients allocated fluoxetine were less likely than those allocated placebo to develop new depression by 6 months (210 [13·43%] patients vs 269 [17·21%]; difference 3·78% [95% CI 1·26–6·30]; p=0·0033), but they had more bone fractures (45 [2·88%] vs 23 [1·47%]; difference 1·41% [95% CI 0·38–2·43]; p=0·0070). There were no significant differences in any other event at 6 or 12 months.InterpretationFluoxetine 20 mg given daily for 6 months after acute stroke does not seem to improve functional outcomes. Although the treatment reduced the occurrence of depression, it increased the frequency of bone fractures. These results do not support the routine use of fluoxetine either for the prevention of post-stroke depression or to promote recovery of function.FundingUK Stroke Association and NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme.

KW - acute stroke

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DO - 10.1016/ S0140-6736(18)32983-0

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