Objectives: To measure gait and postural stability by objective methods in spastic MS patients and to evaluate the effect of baclofen on gait and postural stability.
Patients and methods: Fourteen spastic MS patients were examined in a placebo controlled double-blind, cross-over trial of oral baclofen treatment. The gait was measured on a computerized treadmill and postural stability was measured on a computer assisted force-plate.
Results: Only insignificant improvements in the clinical measurements during baclofen treatment were found. At baseline gait was characterized by low speed, short steps and unsteadiness. Postural stability was severely impaired. During baclofen treatment only vertical unsteadiness of gait diminished significantly.
Discussion: We conclude that patients primarily with spasticity, concomitant with hampering or painful spasms and co-contractions should be offered treatment with baclofen. Only some will experience improvement of their gait disorders, when treated with baclofen.