Efficacy of citicoline as an acute stroke treatment

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Apr;10(5):839-46. doi: 10.1517/17460440902835475.


Citicoline (cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) is a precursor essential for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, one of the cell membrane components that is degraded during cerebral ischemia to free fatty acids and free radicals. Animal studies suggest that citicoline may protect cell membranes by accelerating resynthesis of phospholipids and suppressing the release of free fatty acids, stabilizing cell membranes, and reducing free radical generation. Numerous experimental stroke studies with citicoline have shown improved outcome and reduced infarct size in both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke models. Citicoline has been studied worldwide in both ischemic and hemorrhagic clinical stroke with excellent safety and possibly efficacy found in several trials. A meta-analysis of four randomized US clinical citicoline trials concluded that treatment with oral citicoline within the first 24 h after a moderate to severe stroke is safe and increases the probability of complete recovery at 3 months. Citicoline clinical efficacy trials are now continuing outside of the US in both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. A citicoline supplement is now available from several sources on the internet.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / pharmacology
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline