Moderate to Severe TBI

TBI Medication Chart

Anti-convulsant Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

Anti-convulsant medications are used to suppress the rapid and excessive firing of neurons that start a seizure. Anti-convulsants can sometimes prevent the spread of a seizure within the brain and offer protection against possible excitotoxic effects that may result in brain damage.

Examples include: sodium valproate, neurontin, topiramate and carbamazepine.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Absence seizures
  • Acute seizures
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Corticofocal seizures
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures
  • Panic disorders
  • Sedative/hypnotic (sleep aid)
  • Simple and complex partial seizures
  • Headache
  • Pain
  • Behavior difficulties (aggression)
  • Mood stabilizers

Possible side effects include:

  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Amnesia
  • Anorexia
  • Ataxia (muscle incoordination)
  • Confusion
  • Diploplia (double vision)
  • Drowsiness
  • Dysarthria (speech disorder)
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movements)
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting
  • Weight gain

NOTE:
These medications should not be stopped abruptly. Please check with your doctor before discontinuing use.

Anti-depressant Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

Anti-depressant medications are thought to work by affecting the levels of the brain's natural chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, and adjusting the brain's response to them.

Examples include: citalopram, amitriptyline, paroxetine and sertraline.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Bulimia
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorders

Possible adverse effects can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cardiac palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance
  • Hypotension
  • Insomnia
  • Numbness
  • Seizures
  • Skin rash
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Urinary retention

NOTE:
These medications should not be stopped abruptly. Please check with your doctor before discontinuing use.

Anti-psychotic Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

Antipsychotic medications are a class of drugs used to treat psychosis and other mental and emotional conditions.

One of the most frequently used medications in this class is quetiapine.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Patients who are aggressive or agitated
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tourette's syndrome

Possible adverse effects can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dystonia
  • Headache
  • Hypotension
  • Parkinsonism
  • Tremor
  • Urinary retention
  • Weight gain

Pain Management Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

Pain management medications are used to control pain stemming from TBI, and the symptoms and effects related to the injury.

Examples include: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Arthralgia (joint pain)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)

Possible adverse effects can include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal irritation and bleeding
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Reye's syndrome
  • Sedation
  • Tingling sensation
  • Vomiting

NOTE:
Overuse of over-the-counter and herbal pain medications may actually aggravate the condition. Be sure that your doctor is aware of all of the nonprescription meds that you are taking. Narcotics are not appropriate for pain management in TBI cases.

Motor System Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

These medications act on the motor system to affect the chemical balance in the brain, in an effort to control bodily movement. Examples include: baclofen, tizanidine or cyclobenzaprine.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Parkinson's disease

Possible adverse effects can include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Cardiac
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dyskinesia (impairment of movement)
  • Euphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Vomiting

Memory and Cognition Medications

How They Work: Therapeutic Uses: Possible Side Effects:

This medications act to block enzymes in the brain. These drugs are used to treat dementia, such as that found with Alzheimer’s disease. Others are used to treat attention deficits and hyperactivity. They may improve memory, awareness, and the ability to take part in everyday life. Examples include: donepezil, modafinil and methylphenidate.

Medications in this class can be used to treat:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Memory problems
  • Attention problems

Possible adverse effects can include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevation of liver enzymes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

 

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