The efficacy of diazepam in enhancing motor function in children with spastic cerebral palsy

J Trop Pediatr. 2005 Apr;51(2):109-13. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmh095.


Muscle spasm and hypertonia limit mobility in children with spastic cerebral palsy. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled clinical trial studies the clinical efficacy of a low dose of diazepam in enhancing movement in children with spastic cerebral palsy. One hundred and eighty children fulfilled the criteria and were randomly allocated to receive one of two doses of diazepam or placebo at bedtime; 173 completed the study. There was a significant reduction of hypertonia, improvement in the range of passive movement, and an increase in spontaneous movement in the children who received diazepam. There was no report of daytime drowsiness. In developing countries, where cost factors often determine choice of drug, diazepam is a cheap and effective way of relieving spasm and stiffness, optimizing physical therapy and facilitating movement in children with spasticity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cerebral Palsy / drug therapy*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Diazepam / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / pharmacology
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / therapeutic use*
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy
  • Muscle Spasticity / rehabilitation
  • Range of Motion, Articular / drug effects


  • Muscle Relaxants, Central
  • Diazepam