Continuous subcutaneous apomorphine for severe disorders of consciousness after traumatic brain injury.

TitleContinuous subcutaneous apomorphine for severe disorders of consciousness after traumatic brain injury.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFridman, Esteban A., Krimchansky Ben Zion, Bonetto Mariana, Galperin Tatyana, Gamzu Elkan R., Leiguarda Ramon C., and Zafonte Ross
JournalBrain Inj
Date Published2010
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Apomorphine, Brain Injuries, Consciousness, Dopamine Agonists, Feasibility Studies, Female, Humans, Infusions, Subcutaneous, Male, Persistent Vegetative State, Pilot Projects, Prospective Studies, Recovery of Function, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult

BACKGROUND: The prognosis of long-term severe disorders of consciousness due to traumatic brain injury is discouraging. There is little definitive evidence of the underlying mechanisms, but a deficiency of the dopaminergic system may be involved.

METHODS: In a prospective open-labelled clinical study, the feasibility, relative efficacy and safety of continuous subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of apomorphine in Vegetative State (VS) or Minimally Conscious State (MCS) patients due to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) was tested. Apomorphine was administered to eight patients. Outcome measures were the Coma Near-Coma Scale (CNCS) and Disability Rating Scale (DRS).

RESULTS: Drug management was implemented without any problems. There was improvement in the primary outcomes for all patients. Awakening was seen as rapidly as within the first 24 hours of drug administration and as late as 4 weeks. Seven of the patients had completely recovered consciousness. All improvements were sustained for at least 1 year, even after apomorphine was discontinued. Drug-related adverse events were all anticipated and resolved after the dose was reduced.

CONCLUSION: Based on this open-label pilot study, continuous s.c. apomorphine infusion appears to be feasible, safe and potentially effective in improving consciousness in patients in VS and MCS due to severe TBI.

Alternate JournalBrain Inj
PubMed ID20235766

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