Advances in the management of multiple sclerosis spasticity: multiple sclerosis spasticity guidelines

Expert Rev Neurother. 2013 Dec;13(12 Suppl):55-9. doi: 10.1586/14737175.2013.865880.


Symptomatic therapy of multiple sclerosis (MS) is an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan that aims to improve patients' quality of life. In the current era of medical progress, several factors have led to the development of guidelines for MS management. There is continued need for an evidence-based approach supported by high-quality data from controlled clinical trials. Most healthcare systems require this approach and include it in the reimbursement process. Guidelines are usually committed by national or continental neurological societies. The Spanish Society of Neurology demyelinating diseases working group has developed a consensus document on spasticity in patients with MS. MS experts from the group used the metaplan method to sum up the most important recommendations about spasticity for inclusion in the guidance. Recommendations were classified according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network system and approved by all members of the group. In Germany, the guideline panel of the German Neurological Society endorsed the national competence network for multiple sclerosis (Krankheitsbezogenes Kompetenznetz Multiple Sklerose) to update the existing recommendations. The most recent fifth edition of the guidelines (dated April 2012) now also includes recommendations for treatment of key symptoms such as spasticity. More than 30 MS neurologists contributed to the new edition reflecting the need for broad expertise. After a first round in which key topics were defined, a web-based decision process was undertaken to further develop individual topics such as symptomatic therapy. The draft manuscript was reviewed once again by the group prior to submission to the official review process. The aims of spasticity treatment are to improve mobility and dexterity, achieve physiological movement patterns, reduce pain, facilitate nursing measures and avoid complications such as contractures. Representative antispasticity medications include baclofen, tizanidine, gabapentin, dantrolene, tolperisone, benzodiazepines and Sativex® oromucosal spray. Botulinum toxin and intrathecal baclofen may also be required in selected cases. Plans are currently in motion to develop next-level European guidelines through a concerted approach coordinated by the European Federation of Neurological Societies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / therapy
  • Muscle Spasticity* / diagnosis
  • Muscle Spasticity* / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity* / therapy
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic