Pharmaceutisch Weekblad

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 249–260 | Cite as

Spasticity and drug therapy

  • E. W. Wuis
Review Articles


An overview is presented of pathophysiology, classification and measurement of spasticity and of its treatment, especially with dantrolene and baclofen. In spasticity, the balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system is impaired by mechanisms that are for the greater part unknown. Spasticity includes various disorders of motor control, and classification is needed for a meaningful evaluation of antispastic therapy. Cerebral palsy is a specific disorder, sometimes also called spasticity. Measurement of spasticity is complicated and should include signs characteristic of spasticity and parameters for clinical improvement. Dantrolene and baclofen have established their place in the treatment of spastic disorders, but a preference for either drug is hard to give. For tizanidine it is still too early to determine its place in therapy. Dantrolene is a direct acting muscle relaxant which should be avoided in patients with pre-existing liver damage. Its mechanism of metabolism and excretion is for the greater part unknown. The GABA b agonist baclofen is a centrally acting muscle relaxant. In patients with impaired renal function the dose should be reduced. Abrupt withdrawal carries the risk of unwanted reactions. TheR(−)-enantiomer has proved to be the active isomer. This means that human trials need reappraisal, especially those relating to the pharmacokinetics of the racemate.

Key words

Baclofen Cerebral palsy Dantrolene Drug therapy Muscle relaxants Pathology Spasticity Tizanidine 


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Copyright information

© Bohn, Scheltema & Holkema 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. W. Wuis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical PharmacySt. Radboud University HospitalGA NijmegenThe Netherlands

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