Does long term use of piracetam improve speech disturbances due to ischemic cerebrovascular diseases? See comment in PubMed Commons below Brain Lang 117: 23-27

Author(s): Güngör L, Terzi M, Onar MK


Aphasia causes significant disability and handicap among stroke survivors. Language therapy is recommended for aphasic patients, but not always available. Piracetam, an old drug with novel properties, has been shown to have mild beneficial effects on post-stroke aphasia. In the current study, we investigated the effects of 6 months treatment with piracetam on aphasia following stroke. Thirty patients with first-ever ischemic strokes and related aphasia were enrolled in the study. The scores for the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), Barthel Index (BI), modified Rankin Scale (mRS), and Gülhane Aphasia Test were recorded. The patients were scheduled randomly to receive either 4.8 g piracetam daily or placebo treatment for 6 months. At the end of 24 weeks, clinical assessments and aphasia tests were repeated. The level of improvement in the clinical parameters and aphasia scores was compared between the two groups. All patients had large lesions and severe aphasia. No significant difference was observed between the piracetam and placebo groups regarding the improvements in the NIHSS, BI and mRS scores at the end of the treatment. The improvements observed in spontaneous speech, reading fluency, auditory comprehension, reading comprehension, repetition, and naming were not significantly different in the piracetam and placebo groups, the difference reached significance only for auditory comprehension in favor of piracetam at the end of the treatment. Piracetam is well-tolerated in patients with post-stroke aphasia. Piracetam taken orally in a daily dose of 4.8 g for 6 months has no clear beneficial effect on post-stroke language disorders.

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