Drug Seems to Speed Recovery After Traumatic Brain Injury
Published July 25th, 2012
(HealthDay News) A drug that's typically used to treat the flu and Parkinson's disease appears to speed recovery in traumatic brain injury patients, a new study indicates.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims who weren't fully conscious and were discharged to rehabilitation facilities after hospitalization were given amantadine hydrochloride. The drug is already given "off-label" to such patients, but if and how much it helps has remained unclear.
While taking the drug, the patients given amantadine scored better on behavioral tests that measure how well the brain is functioning compared to a group of patients given a placebo, researchers report in the March 1 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
"Amantadine appeared to increase the rate of recovery compared to placebo. Patients got better faster while they were on the drug," said study co-author Joseph Giacino, director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, in Boston, and an associate professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
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