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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-15

Poststroke aphasia treatment: A review of pharmacologic therapies and noninvasive brain stimulation techniques

1 VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Polytrauma System of Care, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Palo Alto, CA, USA
2 Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Houston, TX, USA
3 The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, McGovern Medical School, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Allison Nuovo Capizzi
3801 Miranda Ave. Building MB2, Palo Alto, CA 94304
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jisprm.JISPRM-000151

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Aphasia is a common complication of stroke, often causing significant morbidity. To the authors' knowledge, no stroke recovery practice guidelines incorporating pharmacologic or noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) therapies for poststroke aphasia (PSA) exist. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the evidence regarding pharmacologic and NIBS treatment in PSA. An exhaustive single database search assessing treatment for PSA was performed from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 1876 articles. Articles evaluating either pharmacologic management or NIBS were included. Case reports, case series, original research, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses were allowed. Pharmacologic treatment studies included were represented by the following medication classes: cholinergic, dopaminergic, gamma-aminobutyric acid agonists and derivatives, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists, serotonergic, and autonomic agents. NIBS treatment studies regarding transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) were evaluated. No strong evidence was found for any medication to improve PSA. However, the benefit of a medication trial may outweigh the risk of side effects as some evidence exists for functional recovery. Regarding NIBS, weak evidence exists for the treatment effect of tDCS and rTMS on PSA. While additional research is needed, the literature shows promise, especially in chronic phase of stroke when traditional treatment options may be exhausted. More evidence with larger studies and standardized study design is needed.

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