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Follow-up after 5.5 years of treatment with methylphenidate for mental fatigue and cognitive function after a mild traumatic brain injury

Journal article
Authors Birgitta Johansson
Paulin Andréll
Lars Rönnbäck
C. Mannheimer
Published in Brain Injury
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 229-235
ISSN 0269-9052
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 229-235
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699052.2019.16...
Subject categories Neurosciences

Abstract

Objective: Prolonged mental fatigue and cognitive impairments are common after a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). This sets limits for rehabilitation and for regaining the capacity for work and participation in social life. Method: This follow-up study, over a period of approximately 5.5 years was designed to evaluate the effect and safety of methylphenidate treatment for mental fatigue after a mild TBI. A comparison was made between those who had continued, and those who had discontinued the treatment. The effect was also evaluated after a four-week treatment break. Results: Significant improvement in mental fatigue, depression, and anxiety for the group treated with methylphenidate (p < .001) was found, while no significant change was found for the group without methylphenidate. The methylphenidate treatment group also improved their processing speed (p = .008). Withdrawal produced a pronounced and significant deterioration in mental fatigue, depression, and anxiety and a slower processing speed. This indicates that the methylphenidate effect is reversible if discontinued and that continued methylphenidate treatment can be a prerequisite for long-term improvement. The effect was found to be stable and safe over the years. Conclusion: We suggest methylphenidate to be a possible treatment option for patients with post-TBI symptoms including mental fatigue and cognitive symptoms.

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