Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a devastating disease, predominantely affecting young people. Although the prognosis for TBI victims has improved in recent years, many survivors of TBI suffer from emotional, cognitive and motor disturbances and a decreased quality of life. In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of pharmacological targets evaluated in clinically-relevant experimental TBI models, showing improved cognitive and motor outcome and decreased loss of brain tissue. Despite the completion of several recent clinical trials using compounds showing neuroprotection in preclinical studies, pharmaceutical treatment strategies with proven clinical benefit are still lacking. This paper reviews the preclinical pharmacological treatment studies evaluated to date in experimental models of TBI. Although human TBI is a complex and multifaceted disease, these studies provide encouraging translational data suggesting that pharmacological compounds, delivered in a clinically-relevant time window, may improve the outcome of TBI patients.