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  • Dr. Harvinder Singh

    June 6, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Thanks @Gary Graham for your insight. You are correct and I was not aware of this as a common side effect with antidepressants.

    This cross-sectional study published in 2006 answered this question: J Clin Psychiatry. 2006 Nov;67(11):1754-9. (PMID: 17196056):

    Inclusion Criteria for this study:

    • 18+ years of age
    • Responders to antidepressant therapy following at least 3 months of treatment.
    • MDD in partial or full remission

    Study participants were administered:

    • Harvard Department of Psychiatry/National Depression Screening Day (HANDS) scale
    • Epworth Sleepiness Scale
    • Brief Fatigue Inventory
    • Massachusetts General Hospital Cognitive and Physical Functioning Questionnaire (CPFQ)
    • Study-specific questionnaire inquiring about the emergence of specific side effects such as apathy, fatigue, and inattentiveness.

    Following Cognitive symptoms were reported by >30% of the responders on antidepressants (on CPFQ & study-specific questionnaire):

    • Apathy
    • Inattentiveness
    • Forgetfulness
    • Word-finding difficulty, and
    • Mental slowing)

    Also, they found a significant, positive relationship between the CPFQ and the severity of residual depressive symptoms as measured by the HANDS total score (F = 15.3, p = .0002).


    • these symptoms are both side effects of the antidepressants as well as residual symptoms of MDD.