Pharmacotherapy of spasticity in children with cerebral palsy

Pediatr Neurol. 2006 Jan;34(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2005.05.001.


Spasticity is one of the most common symptoms presented by neurologic patients. Apart from surgical management, drug therapy is an important treatment of children suffering from spasticity. In this review, recent advances in the pharmacologic armamentarium are reported in detail. In particular, there are oral medications (benzodiazepines, baclofen, dantrolene sodium, alpha 2 adrenergic agonists) and parenteral medications (botulinum toxin type A and B, alcohol). Moreover, there is also baclofen that can be administered intrathecally. There are some reports supporting the use of intramuscular alcohol (45% and/or 5-7% phenol) to reduce spasticity without the loss of voluntary movement or loss of sensation. Among these drugs, intrathecal baclofen is one of the most effective substances that can reduce spasticity significantly in the upper and lower extremities. Finally, the effectiveness of therapy with botulinum toxin type A in the management of spasticity is analyzed. Botulinum toxin type A reduces hypertonia in the injected muscles for a period of 2 to 4 months without important side effects. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of available oral and parenteral drugs for treatment of spasticity in cerebral palsy and to outline indications and contraindications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Child
  • GABA Agents / administration & dosage
  • GABA Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Injections
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy*
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology*
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • GABA Agents
  • Neuromuscular Agents