Combining amphetamines with physical therapy does not improve motor recovery in patients recovering from a stroke, according to researchers.

The study, published recently in the Journal of American Association of Neurology, disputes previous research in animals that showed improvement in motor function after strokes.

In the 1980s, a study demonstrated that rats with brain injuries who were given amphetamines with physical therapy showed notable improvement in motor function. And later studies in cats and mice also displayed similar improvements, notes a media release from UPI.

In the study, conduced by the University of Kentucky Department of Neurology and sponsored by Duke University, 1,665 ischemic stroke patients in five rehabilitation hospitals or inpatient units were screened from 2001 through 2003.

Sixty-four randomly received 10 milligrams of d-amphetamine or placebo combined with a 1-hour physical therapy session every 4 days for six sessions. Between 10 and 30 days after ischemic stroke, treatment began for 3 months.

No overall treatment-related differences in the Fugl-Meyer Motor scores in the two test groups were found. The two groups were equally comparable on all secondary outcome measures or broken down by severity, the release continues.

“The concept of using amphetamines as part of a regimen for stroke recovery is biologically complex, and this pilot was specifically designed to explore some of that complexity,” says lead author Dr Larry Goldstein, chairman of the University of Kentucky Department of Neurology, in the release. “This data should help elucidate the parameters for continued study.”

Goldstein next wants to study other dosing regimens, treatment intervals, and times between stroke and beginning treatment.

[Source: UPI]