One of the more dangerous effects of a brain injury is inflammation caused by the secondary immune-like reaction to the injury. This inflammation can cause further damage to the brain and impede recovery. Further, brain systems can become disorganized when inflammation disrupts brain plasticity and forces neurons to compensate or redirect.
Anti-inflammatory drugs have long been used to reduce inflammation immediately after a brain injury. A recent animal study found that a common anti-inflammatory, ibuprofen, not only reduces inflammation after a brain injury, but also helps to re-organize brain systems and improve recovery. In addition, when ibuprofen was administered before injury (in this study, stroke), it also reduced inflammation after the injury.
Jablonka JA, Kossut M, Witte OW, & Lihuz-Lecznar M. Experience-dependent brain plasticity after stroke: Effect of ibuprofen and poststroke delay. European Journal of Neuroscience. (September 2012).