Research Reports - Long-term treatment with methylphenidate for fatigue after traumatic brain injury

Acta Neurol Scand. 2016 Mar 15. doi: 10.1111/ane.12587. [Epub ahead of print]

Johansson B(1), Wentzel AP(2,)(3), Andréll P(2), Rönnbäck L(1), Mannheimer C(3).

OBJECTIVES: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may cause long-lasting post-concussive
symptoms, such as mental fatigue and concentration difficulties, and this may
become the main hindrance for returning to work and studies. There is currently
no effective treatment for long-lasting mental fatigue. In this hypothesis
generating study, the long-term effects of methylphenidate on mental fatigue,
cognitive function, and safety were assessed.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Thirty participants who suffered from long-term
post-concussion symptoms after a mild TBI or moderate TBI and who had reported
positive effects with methylphenidate during an initial phase of this follow-up
study were treated with methylphenidate for a further six months.
RESULTS: After six-month follow-up, effects on Mental Fatigue Scale (MFS),
depression, anxiety, and cognitive function (processing speed, attention, working
memory) were significantly improved compared to baseline data (P < 0.001,
respectively). Heart rate was significantly increased (P = 0.01), while blood
pressure was not changed.
CONCLUSIONS: Individuals suffering from prolonged symptoms after TBI reported
reduced mental fatigue and improved cognitive functions with long-term
methylphenidate treatment. It is suggested that methylphenidate can be a
treatment option for long-term mental fatigue and cognitive impairment after a
TBI, but further randomized control research is warranted.

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