Cerebral Palsy - Medications
Medicines can help control some of the
cerebral palsy (CP), prevent or minimize
complications, and treat
other medical conditions related to CP.
Muscle relaxants (antispasmodics) are the most common medicines used for
people who have CP. They can help relax tight muscles and reduce muscle
spasms. Most antispasmodics are taken by mouth. Some are injected directly into stiff or spastic muscles. Examples include:
- Baclofen (such as Gablofen).
- Botulinum toxin (such as Botox).
- Diazepam (such as
Anticonvulsants help prevent or control seizures. These include:
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal).
- Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal).
Anticholinergics help some people who have CP who
have uncontrollable body movements (dystonic cerebral palsy) or who drool
often. These include:
- Benztropine (Cogentin).
- Glycopyrrolate (Robinul).
Stool softeners and mild laxatives may help treat
constipation, which is a common complaint of people who have CP.
What to think about
Some doctors believe that oral antispasmodic medicines should not be given to growing children. They are
concerned that side effects from these medicines can cause problems for
children that are worse than the tight muscles and muscle spasms related
to CP. For example, drowsiness is a side effect that may interfere with a child's ability to concentrate and learn in
school. Other doctors believe that the benefits of these medicines outweigh the
risk of side effects.
Ask your doctor the following questions
about any medicine prescribed for your child:
- How successful is it in treating my child's
- What are the short-term and long-term side
- What are the chances that the medicine will stop working?
What options are available if this happens?
- How might it
affect my child's growth and development?
new medicine information form(What is a PDF document?) for more questions to ask.