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Brain Inj. 2015;29(6):758-65. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2015.1004747. Epub 2015 Mar 20.

Methylphenidate reduces mental fatigue and improves processing speed in persons suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg , Sweden .



Post-traumatic brain injury symptoms, such as mental fatigue, have considerable negative impacts on quality-of-life. In the present study the effects of methylphenidate in two different dosages were assessed with regard to mental fatigue, pain and cognitive functions in persons who had suffered a traumatic brain injury.


Fifty-one subjects were included and 44 completed the study. The treatment continued for 12 weeks, including three treatment periods with no medication for 4 weeks, administration of low dose methylphenidate (up to 5 mg × 3) for 4 weeks and normal dose methylphenidate (up to 20 mg × 3) for a further 4 weeks. The patients were randomized into three groups where all groups were given all treatments.


Significantly reduced mental fatigue, assessed with the Mental Fatigue Scale (MFS) and increased information processing speed (coding, WAIS-III), were detected. The SF-36 vitality and social functioning scales were also improved significantly. Pain was not reduced by methylphenidate. The positive effects of treatment were dose-dependent, with the most prominent effects being at 60 mg methylphenidate/day spread over three doses. Observed side-effects were increased blood pressure and increased heart rate.


Methylphenidate was generally well-tolerated and it improved long-lasting mental fatigue and processing speed after traumatic brain injury.


Cognition; TBI; mental fatigue; methylphenidate; pain

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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