A therapy for brain injury, approved in nearly 60 countries, has no real benefits in treating people who've had changes in brain function after an injury, says a new study.

The researchers led by Ross Zafonte of Harvard Medical School found that citicoline therapy used to treat people with traumatic brain injuries and stroke didn't offer any benefits over placebo.

"We very much were disappointed. We took a therapy that is utilized worldwide and we found that at least its present use should be called into question," said Dr. Ross Zafonte, the lead author and a traumatic brain injury expert at Harvard Medical School, Associated Press reported.

The study involved 1,213 patients from the U.S. All the patients had had a traumatic brain injury in the past. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive citicoline in pill of liquid form within the first 24 hours after injury, followed by three months of higher dosage of the drug, or placebo.

Patients were, on average, followed for six months. Researchers found that citicoline was no better in treating traumatic brain injury than placebo. People in both the groups had almost equal scores in memory and learning tests.

"Among patients with traumatic brain injury, the use of citicoline compared with placebo for 90 days did not result in improvement in functional and cognitive status," researchers concluded.

Experts say that the study's findings have been disheartening and that brain injuries are complex where just one therapy might not always be enough.

"It (study findings) highlights the fact that traumatic brain injury as an injury is not 'one-size-fits-all' and research is needed to develop approaches to the better classification of brain injury," said Wayne Gordon, vice chair of the department of rehabilitation medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, HealthDay reported.

Recent research had shown that citicoline has no benefits over placebo in protecting the nervous system after an ischemic stroke.

The study is published in the Journal of American Medical Association.