A team led by Emory University and financed by the National Institutes of Health is currently testing whether progesterone can reduce disability and mortality if administered within four hours after a patient experiences a traumatic brain injury. There are currently no medications approved for reducing the effects of traumatic brain injury. In an earlier preliminary trial with 100 participants, also conducted by Emory University, the 30-day mortality rate for patients receiving progesterone injections was 13% compared with 30% for patients receiving a placebo.
The current trial is expected to include 1,140 participants from trauma centers around the country over the next three years, though the early results will be evaluated this summer and if found highly effective could be put into clinical practice earlier than originally anticipated. For more details, and commentary from Dr. Donald Stein, neuroscientist and professor of emergency medicine at Emory University, please see the following New York Times report.