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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Europa Medicophysica) 2009 December;45(4):621-30

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The clinical use of drugs influencing neurotransmitters in the brain to promote motor recovery after stroke; a systematic review

Berends H. I, Nijlant J. M. M. 1, 2, Movig K. L. L. 3, Van Putten M. J. A. M. 4, Jannink M. J. A. 1, Ijzerman M. J. 5

1 Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, The Netherlands 2 Department of Rehabilitation, Ziekenhuisgroep Twente, Almelo, The Netherlands 3 Department of Pharmacology, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands 4 Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Medisch Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands 5 Department of Healthy Technology and Services Research, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands


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The objective of this review was to compare and to discuss the results of studies that investigated the ability of drugs to improve motor recovery after stroke by influencing dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin concentrations in the brain. A systematic literature search up to January 2009 was conducted in MEDLINE, Pubmed, EMBASE and in the database of the Cochrane Stroke Group Trial Register. In addition, the literature reference lists of the relevant publications were checked. The literature search was conducted in order to identify randomized controlled trials focusing on the effects of drugs on motor recovery after stroke. In order to structure the data, motor recovery was sub-divided into motor control and motor function. The methodological quality of the studies was also assessed. Six studies, investigating the effects of 7 different kinds of drugs were included. Methodological scores varied between 10 and 14 (max 19). Motor control was not influenced by any of the drugs. Motor function improved in patients treated with methylphenidate, trazodone, and nortriptyline. Results for fluoxetine and levodopa were contradicting. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that neuromodulating drugs targeting serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine influence motor recovery after stroke.

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