Progesterone is a hormone that has been shown to have a rapid, neuroprotective effect after TBI. This effect has been strong during pre-clinical, phase I, and phase II trials, and is now in the process of both a national and an international phase III clinical trial, bringing it closer to FDA approval for clinical use. Other clinical trials have begun for the use of progesterone after pediatric brain injury, stroke, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Some of the potential benefits of progesterone are that it can:
1. Cross the blood brain barrier
2. Be administered as long as 24 hours after the injury and still be effective
3. Reduce swelling and edema
4. Decrease inflammation
5. Protect neurons that might otherwise die
6. Enhance remyelination, the white matter of the brain
7. Reduce potential cognitive, sensory, and spatial deficits
Progesterone is a strong candidate for the acute treatment of TBI, at a time when little else is available. It is not expensive or difficult to administer, and is considered safe for most people.
Stein DG. Is progesterone a worthy candidate as a novel therapy for traumatic brain injury? Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. (December 2011).