Pharmacotherapy for Aphasia

Daniel A. Llano, Steven L. Small

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


There are no currently approved drug therapies to assist in the recovery from aphasia. However, there is suggestive evidence from the animal literature that behavioral training, coupled with pharmacotherapy, can enhance recovery from motor stroke. Most of the pharmacologic interventions used in these studies involved sympathomimetic drugs, although other mechanisms were used as well, such enhancement in cholinergic signaling. A number of studies have been performed using human patients with aphasia. These studies are also suggestive of enhancement in recovery when sympathomimetic drugs are used in conjunction with speech and language therapy. There are also data to support cholinesterase inhibitors memantine and piracetam. In addition, other drugs, such as barbiturates, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants, may slow recovery. Although more work is needed, these studies, which are critically reviewed herein, suggest that thoughtful use of pharmacologic agents in conjunction with speech and language therapy can enhance recovery from aphasic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurobiology of Language
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780124078628
ISBN (Print)9780124077942
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aphasia
  • Donepezil
  • Memantine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Sympathomimetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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