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December 20, 2000

Treatment of Mild Depression in Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(23):2993-2994. doi:10.1001/jama.284.23.2993

To the Editor: Although I applaud the effort by Dr Williams and colleagues1 to recognize and treat depression in elderly patients, I am concerned about their choice of paroxetine for this study population. Patients enrolled in this study had a mean age of 71 years. Patients with moderate or severe cognitive impairment, as defined by a Folstein Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 23 or less, were excluded. A low MMSE score is a nonspecific finding and could indicate either dementia or delirium.