Head & Brain Injury Advice and Resources


Progesterone Now in Phase III Clinical Trials to Treat TBI

Emory University neuroscientist Don Stein, PhD has been studying the benefits and mechanisms of the hormone progesterone as a treatment for TBI for nearly 3 decades. He first became interested in progesterone when he observed that female rats recovered more quickly and completely from TBI than male rats, and that the probable explanation was that female rats produce a lot more progesterone in their brains than male rats.

Dr. Stein eventually figured out that progesterone helps by significantly reducing brain inflammation and brain swelling after a TBI. He found that injecting it into male rats within 24 hours of inducing a brain injury not only brought down mortality levels by close to two-thirds, but also brought their functional recovery level equal to that of females. He then sought and obtained FDA permission start experiments on human beings. Phase I and Phase II trials have been successful, and two nationwide phase III trials are now in progress.

This is important news for people concerned about brain injury. If the phase III trials are successful then Emergency Departments of trauma hospitals will stock progesterone and inject it into patients who have just arrived with a TBI. With regard to female patients their progesterone level varies significantly through life depending upon such factors as whether they are of childbearing years, menstruating, ovulating, etc.