Psychostimulants are used commonly in the rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), despite the dearth of well-controlled studies of their effects. The available literature suggests that these drugs predominantly affect the speed of cognitive processing and certain observational ratings of mood and behavior. Effects on sustained attention, distractibility, and memory are less clear.
This article reviews the controlled research literature on the use of these drugs in TBI and presents preliminary data from the authors' laboratory that extends these findings. Some of the common research pitfalls that have limited progress in research on these drugs are discussed.