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Functional Neurology

Is bupropion useful in the treatment of post-stroke thalamic apathy? A case report and considerations

Original Article, 213 - 216
doi: 10.11138/FNeur/2018.33.4.213
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Abstract
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Post-stroke apathy is considered to be one of the clinical consequences of lesions affecting the structures of the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus and limbic system. However, there is no current consensus on the treatment of post-stroke apathy, which mainly depends on the underlying etiology and comorbidities.
A 62-year-old man, affected by hemorrhagic stroke in the left thalamus, presented with mood depression, anhedonia, hyporexia and marked apathy. The patient underwent clinical evaluation before and after receiving two different pharmacological therapies: escitalopram and bupropion. Only after treatment with the latter drug did the patient show changes: high motivation and willingness to pursue activities, greater interest in the external environment and social life activities, and an overall reduction of apathy. On the basis of our observations in this case,
we hypothesize that the thalamic lesion resulted in disconnection of the fronto-striatal-thalamic circuits, and that loss of the dopaminergic striatal innervation caused the patient’s apathetic state. The resolution of the apathetic disorder may be attributable to the action of the dopaminergic drug bupropion on the mesocortical pathway.

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