Baclofen (Lioresal) is the drug of choice for
spasticity. It is available in tablets or by delivery through a pump implanted
in the lower spinal area. Pump delivery is effective for those with severe
Tizanidine (Zanaflex) is a drug similar to baclofen. It
is available in tablet form.
Dantrolene (Dantrium) is also
effective. But it may cause muscle weakness, which limits the number of
people who can use it. Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, lack of
hunger (anorexia), and, with high dosages or prolonged use, liver
Gabapentin (Neurontin) may help relieve pain as well as
spasticity. It is usually very well tolerated and causes few side
Diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin) relieve both
spasticity and anxiety but may cause side effects such as dizziness,
drowsiness, and confusion.
Injection of botulinum toxin
(Botox) may provide relief in some cases.1
Often a combination of these medicines given in small
doses is better tolerated and more effective than a larger dose of a single
For Mimi Mosher, a person with primary progressive MS, clarity first came when she lost her vision.
Her eyesight steadily eroded by multiple sclerosis, Mimi now lived in a near-constant dusk. The realization came at a scary time. “I was driving. I thought, I can’t do this anymore. I had to pull off the road and let my friend drive,” says Mimi.
Until then, Mimi had been living “in a deep state of denial” about her advancing symptoms. As her primary progressive MS forced her to hand over her car...
Some forms of natural or man-made substances related to marijuana, called cannabinoids, may help relieve spasticity.
Carbamazepine (Tegretol), which is a seizure
medicine, benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam
(Klonopin), and beta-blockers, especially propranolol (Inderal), may have some
benefit in treating
tremors caused by MS.
Severe tremors are
very hard to treat. If they do not respond to medicine, surgery may be
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a
warning on seizure medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The
FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, people
who take seizure medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take seizure
medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 22, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this