Depression After Traumatic Brain Injury Common

But little evidence available to guide decision making in treatment

THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- About 30 percent of people who suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) will experience depression, but there is a dearth of evidence to guide the care of the 1.2 million people in the United States who experience TBI each year, according to research published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Oscar Guillamondegui, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues reviewed 112 studies on TBI to assess the degree to which depression contributes to long-term disability in patients with TBI.

The researchers note that TBI is responsible for 1.2 million emergency department visits annually. They determined that 30 percent of TBI patients, or 360,000 patients per year, subsequently suffer from depression. However, the researchers concluded that studies on whether depression medications are a safe and effective treatment for those with TBI are lacking.

"We find a concerning lack of high-quality evidence to inform clinical decision-making for the one to two million individuals in the United States who experience traumatic brain injury each year. Lack of treatment studies focused on this population is especially remarkable. Given how common, concerning, and debilitating the combination of TBI and depression can be, a priority on promoting high-quality research in the United States is imperative," the authors write.

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