EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship

Author ORCID Identifier

Anne Fleischer ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4300-5824


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Document Type


Publication Date




Intensive, task-oriented motor training has been associated with neuroplastic reorganization and improved upper extremity movement function after stroke. However, to optimize such training for people with moderate-to-severe movement impairment, pharmacological modulation of neuroplasticity may be needed as an adjuvant intervention.


Evaluate safety, as well as improvement in movement function, associated with motor training paired with a drug to upregulate neuroplasticity after stroke.


In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, 12 subjects with chronic stroke received either atomoxetine or placebo paired with motor training. Safety was assessed using vital signs. Upper extremity movement function was assessed using Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Wolf Motor Function Test, and Action Research Arm Test at baseline, post-intervention, and 1-month follow-up.


No significant between-groups differences were found in mean heart rate (95% CI, -12.4-22.6; p = 0.23), mean systolic blood pressure (95% CI, -1.7-29.6; p = 0.21), or mean diastolic blood pressure (95% CI, -10.4-13.3; p = 0.08). A statistically significant between-groups difference on Fugl-Meyer at post-intervention favored the atomoxetine group (95% CI, 1.6-12.7; p = 0.016).


Atomoxetine combined with motor training appears safe and may optimize motor training outcomes after stroke.

Journal Title

Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience