The influence of sertraline on attention and verbal memory in children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.

T. Gunther*, K. Holtkamp, J. Jolles, B. Herpertz-Dahlmann, K. Konrad

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study investigated the cognitive side effects of a 6-week course of sertraline treatment on verbal memory and attention in children and adolescents. Children with various anxiety disorders (social phobia, generalized and separation anxiety disorder; n = 28), between 8 and 17 years of age, received a standardized, computerized neuropsychological assessment before treatment and another 6 weeks after treatment onset with sertraline (daily dose range between 25 and 100 mg). The patient group was compared to healthy controls (n = 28), who were matched for age and IQ and were also tested twice over a 6-week period. Sertraline did not have any negative effects on attentional performance (p > 0.05) but did increase response speed in a divided attention paradigm (p = 0.02). By contrast, performance of the interference part of a verbal memory task decreased (p = 0.05). The described results also remained stable over a 12-week period after treatment onset. Thus, the cognitive side effects of sertraline seemed to differ slightly between pediatric patients and those described in adult patient groups, should, therefore, be carefully assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-618
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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