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Vol. 54, No. 1, 2005
Issue release date: September 2005
Eur Neurol 2005;54:39–45

Cognition-Enhancing Effects of Donepezil in Traumatic Brain Injury

Khateb A. · Ammann J. · Annoni J.-M. · Diserens K.
aLaboratory of Experimental Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, and bNeuropsychology Unit, Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva; cDepartment of Neurology, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of donepezil, a cholinergic agent, on chronic cognitive impairment due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Chronic patients underwent two standardized neuropsychological evaluations – one before and the other 3 months following treatment with donepezil. Together with global inventories that appraised behaviour, fatigue, anxiety and depression, these evaluations also assessed executive functioning, memory and attention. Of the 10 patients who followed the therapy, 8 reported subjective improvement in at least one cognitive domain following therapy and most of them reported better functioning in everyday activities. This effect was supported by a slight global improvement when considering the global score of the different affectivo-behavioural scales. At the neuropsychological level, although we could observe a slight improvement in the majority of the considered tests, significant positive changes were mainly found in tests assessing speed of processing, learning and divided attention. These findings suggest that donepezil may lead to better general functioning and improve attentional skills in patients with chronic TBI.

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