Latest approaches for the treatment of spasticity and autonomic dysreflexia in chronic spinal cord injury

Neurotherapeutics. 2011 Apr;8(2):274-82. doi: 10.1007/s13311-011-0025-5.


Two of the most prevalent secondary complications following spinal cord injury (SCI), besides loss of function and/or sensation below the level of injury, are uncontrolled muscle spasticity and hypertensive autonomic dysreflexia. Despite the desires of the SCI community, there have been few advances in the treatment and/or management of these fundamental impediments to the quality of life associated with chronic SCI. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to focus on current drug treatment strategies that alleviate symptoms of spasticity and autonomic dysfunction. Subsequently, looking ahead, we discuss whether individuals suffering from autonomic dysreflexia and/or muscle spasms can take certain compounds that specifically and rapidly block the neurotransmission of pain into the injured spinal cord to get rapid relief for both aberrant reflexes for which painful stimuli below the level of SCI are common precipitants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / drug therapy*
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / etiology
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / physiopathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy*
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology