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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • depression;
  • depressive disorder;
  • intelligence quotient;
  • pharmacotherapy;
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised

Abstract  Depressive symptoms have a large impact on cognitive test performance of mood disorder patients. After remission, some improvement of cognitive functioning has been observed, but also stable deficits have been reported both during depression and remission. In the present study, the authors aimed to investigate the cognitive functioning of mood disorder patients in relation to early symptomatic recovery, by comparing performances at the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) of responders and non-responders to the antidepressant treatment. The sample was composed of 51 hospitalized patients for a major depressive episode (major depressives/bipolars = 37/14). All patients were treated with fluvoxamine and evaluated at baseline and after 4 weeks using the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. All subjects were once assessed for their cognitive functioning with the WAIS-R, at the end of the fourth week of treatment. In the current sample, patients who showed a significant symptomatic remission after 4 weeks of treatment showed higher total WAIS-R scores and a lower incidence of cognitive impairment, compared to non-responders to treatment. No major differences could be observed on any particular subtest, but rather a global improving of scores in responders compared to non-responders to pharmacotherapy. Pre-treatment illness severity, that was significantly higher among non-responders, was significantly associated with patients’ intelligence quotient scores. Despite a number of limitations, present data support a strong effect of depressive symptoms on patients WAIS-R performances and an early global improvement of cognitive functioning concurrent with symptomathology recovery during pharmacological treatment.