CDP-choline as a biological supplement during neurorecovery: a focused review

PM R. 2011 Jun;3(6 Suppl 1):S123-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.03.012.


Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine (CDP-choline or citicoline) is a highly bioavailable compound with potential benefits for aiding neural repair and increasing acetylcholine levels in the central and peripheral nervous system. As a result, many researchers have investigated the use of CDP-choline for various types of neurological insult or conditions, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer disease. Despite the fact that the safety of the compound has been verified across multiple international studies, evidence for efficacy remains less clear. This may be attributable, at least in part, to several issues, including a lack of randomized clinical trials, a lack of availability of the compound in the United States, and statistical power issues in reported trials. In addition, the fact that CDP-choline has multiple potential points of therapeutic impact makes it an exciting treatment option in theory but also complicates the analysis of efficacy in the sense that multiple mechanisms and time points must be evaluated. Although some clinical conditions do not appear to benefit from CDP-choline treatment, the majority of findings to date have suggested at least minor benefits of treatment. In this review we will examine the evidence in the published literature pertaining to use of CDP-choline in rehabilitation populations and briefly consider the work yet to be done.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Recovery of Function*


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline