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Amantadine Use for Postconcussion Syndrome


      The development of postconcussion syndrome after traumatic brain injury can result in a wide range of potentially debilitating symptoms that includes headaches, cognitive dysfunction, and mood disorders. Unfortunately, data on helpful medications are quite limited, particularly on the treatment of persistent headaches attributed to trauma. This retrospective medical record review used data collected from patients with a diagnosis of postconcussion syndrome in Mayo Clinic's Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation outpatient clinics to evaluate the response of postconcussive symptoms to amantadine. A complete trial of amantadine was defined as 100 mg twice per day for 2 months. Thirty-three patients were prescribed amantadine for postconcussive syndrome after traumatic brain injury. One-third of patients discontinued the medication because of adverse effects. However, posttraumatic headaches were improved in 80% of patients who completed a full trial of amantadine. Surprisingly, patients had improvement in headaches even if the medication was prescribed years after the initial trauma. Little improvement was noted in other symptoms such as poor memory, dizziness, and personality changes. Although additional research is certainly needed, amantadine may be a reasonable medication to consider for the treatment of persistent headaches attributed to trauma, even if the initial injury is remote.
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