Medications for Concussion
Experts at NYU Langone may prescribe medication to manage the symptoms of a concussion, which is a mild form of traumatic brain injury that occurs after a sudden trauma shakes the brain. Postconcussion syndrome occurs when symptoms—such as recurring headaches, memory deficits, and sleep disturbances—persist for more than a few weeks, often requiring treatment.
Your doctor recommends medications based on the type and severity of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Most medications, such as those used to manage headaches or dizziness, are taken on a short-term basis. Others, such as those used to treat anxiety or depression, may be taken for longer periods. Medication is typically not needed after symptoms subside.
NYU Langone physicians are experts at finding the right medication to manage your symptoms and work closely with you to minimize side effects.
If you are experiencing prolonged dizziness, your doctor may prescribe a vestibular suppressant medication to dull the brain’s response to signals in the inner ear, which may be causing the dizziness.
Tension-type headaches, which cause dull pressure or constant, tight, vise-like sensations in the head, scalp, or neck, may be associated with a neck injury that happened at the time of the concussion. Your doctor may first recommend an over-the-counter medication to manage any headaches.
Some headaches, however, persist after the injury. For migraines—which can be debilitating, recurrent headaches that cause moderate to severe throbbing pain—and tension-type headaches, NYU Langone doctors may prescribe medications both to reduce headache pain and to prevent future headaches.
Some people experience sleep disturbances, anxiety, or depression after a head injury. An NYU Langone doctor may prescribe antidepressant medications to manage these conditions.
If you have memory, attention, or problem-solving difficulties, your NYU Langone doctor may prescribe a medication in a class called psychostimulants. These can improve cognitive processing speed and attention.
Your doctor may also prescribe cognitive therapy, which involves focused mental exercises or training in the use of a calendar, an electronic organizer, or other techniques to work around deficits in memory or attention skills. Your doctor can refer you to therapists at NYU Langone or in your community.