News Release

Women more likely to comply with stroke prevention despite being more depressed

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Academy of Neurology

CHICAGO – After a stroke, women are more likely to become depressed than men, but despite being depressed, women are more likely than men to take stroke medications, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12–19, 2008.

The study involved 491 stroke survivors who were all prescribed drugs prior to hospital discharge aimed at preventing a second stroke by lowering cholesterol, reducing high blood pressure and preventing blood clots. Three months later, researchers evaluated the participants’ level of depression, quality of life, and whether they were still taking the stroke prevention drugs. A total of 385 people, or 78 percent, were still taking their medications after three months.

Nineteen percent of women reported feelings of depression, compared to 10 percent of men. Thirty percent of women reported sleep problems, compared to 22 percent of men. But the men who kept taking their drugs reported a better overall quality of life than women who stuck with their medications.

“This study was consistent with others that have shown that women are more likely to keep taking their medications than men, even though they may be more likely to be depressed and have poorer quality of life,” said study author Cheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “It may be that depression and quality of life do not impact women’s motivation to take their medications. Men, on the other hand, who are more depressed and report poorer quality of life, are less likely to adhere to their medication schedules.”


The study was part of a multi-center registry of 105 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines program.

The study was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb/sanofi aventis Partnership.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit

Editor’s Note: Dr. Bushnell will present this research during a scientific platform session at 2:00 p.m. CT/3:00 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, in Room 185 AB of the McCormick Place West Convention Center.

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