Fast awakening from minimally conscious state with apomorphine.

TitleFast awakening from minimally conscious state with apomorphine.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsFridman, Esteban A., Calvar Jorge, Bonetto Mariana, Gamzu Elkan, Krimchansky Ben Zion, Meli Francisco, Leiguarda Ramon C., and Zafonte Ross
JournalBrain Inj
Date Published2009 Feb
KeywordsActivities of Daily Living, Adult, Apomorphine, Brain Injuries, Dopamine Agonists, Humans, Male, Persistent Vegetative State, Recovery of Function, Treatment Outcome

BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can induce long-term severe disorders of consciousness. Evidence suggests an underlying dopaminergic deficit. Dopamine agonists may therefore play an important role in recovery of consciousness.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the response to continuous subcutaneous administration of apomorphine in a patient who had remained in minimally conscious state for 104 days and to evaluate the anatomical substrate of the effect.

DESIGN: A prospective, open-label, daily treatment, dose-escalation single case clinical study, with retrospective diffusion tensor image (DTI) evaluation.

RESULTS: On the fist day of treatment, the patient was able to move his limbs on command and answer yes/no questions which had not been the case prior to apomorphine administration. Subsequently there was a full recovery of consciousness and substantial functional recovery that was sustained even after apomorphine discontinuation. At the highest dose, mild dyskinesias were observed. These resolved with a lowering of the dose. DTI demonstrated a decrease of thalamocortical and corticothalamic projections in this MCS patient compared to normal volunteers.

CONCLUSION: Although this is an open-label single-patient case report, the data are consistent with the theory that a dopaminergic deficit underlies MCS and that it may be overcome with apomorphine administration.

Alternate JournalBrain Inj
PubMed ID19191097

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