Low Dose of ADHD Drug Improves Recovery After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Person Holding Medicine

Methamphetamine is prescription drug that is used for the treatment of ADHD in children. Past brain injury studies have found that ADHD drugs, such as methamphetamine, can improve memory and increase energy in people who are in the chronic stage (3 months or longer) of traumatic brain injury.

A recent animal study found that a low dose of methamphetamine administered within three hours of a severe traumatic brain injury not only decreased brain cell death, but also resulted in improved neurological scores and increased memory. The methamphetamine-treated injured animals continued to improve over 30 days, at which point there was no significant difference between their behavioral performance and that of non-injured animals.

The researchers suggest that a low dose of methamphetamine administered shortly after a traumatic brain injury not only provided a neuroprotective effect, which reduced further secondary damage, but it also provided a restorative effect, in which improvement continued in the 30 days after the injury.

Rau TF, Kothiwal AS, Rova AR, et al. Treatment with low-dose methamphetamine improves behavioral and cognitive function after severe traumatic brain injury. The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. (August 2012).