Discovery of novel treatment option for brain injury patients suffering from aggression


 Researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine reported that an antiviral drug could be used as a treatment for people who suffer from increased feelings of aggression after traumatic brain injury. The findings were published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

In traumatic brain injury patients, aggression and anger were the most common emotional and behavioral symptoms and resulted in poorer rehabilitation outcome. Also, negatively affected patients' relationships with family and friends and their ability to live at home and maintain steady employment.

Flora Hammond, MD, chair of the IU School of Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and his colleagues led various studies in patients with chronic traumatic brain injury and moderate-severe aggression. The researchers found that the drug Amantadine (dose = 100mg, twice / day) decreased aggression from the perspective of the patients.

Associate professor Dawn M. Neumann wrote, "Of the vast array of consequences of traumatic brain injury, emotional deficits are among the most prevalent, persistent, and challenging to treat, but they remain grossly understudied compared to other impairments, especially concerning interventions. As emotional functioning is integral to well-being and quality-of-life, it is our obligation as rehabilitation practitioners and clinicians to endeavor to narrow this gap". 

The researchers found the potential for Amantadine to help with patients with Parkinson's disease showed cognitive improvements when the drug took place.

Dr. Elena Gillespie assistant research professor who had a bicycle accident suffered a mild brain injury. After trying other drugs, she was prescribed Amantadine.

"The effects were immediate and just amazing. It calms down part of your brain and gives you a moment to pause and reflect. It helps you reclaim your identity a bit. And to get that back, you get your quality of life back too, "Dr. Gillespie said.

The traumatic brain injuries were the most common. People of all ages and demographics could suddenly experience the traumatic brain injuries, said Dr. Hammond.

This study on antiviral drug Amantidine is important, because it expands the treatment options for brain injury patients with aggression, which can have devastating effects on well-being and ability to function.