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Drug Therapy

Following standard medical procedures, doctors often prescribe medications for those who have CP related seizures, and these drugs are quite effective in preventing seizures. Since no single medication can control all types of seizures drugs must be prescribed based on the individual’s specific medical needs. Thus, different people experiencing the same seizure may respond differently to different drugs, and some may benefit from a combination of drugs.

 

Spasticity can also be controlled through medication, particularly in the aftermath of surgery. The three medications of choice are:

Diazepam – a brain and body general relaxant;

Baclofen - prevents signals dispatched from the spinal cord to contract the muscles; and

Dantrolene – inhibits muscle contraction.

 

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Taken orally, these medications are effective in reducing spasticity over the short term, but their effect in long-term control of spasticity has not yet been proven.  Like many other pharmacological treatments, the patient is at risk for side effects like drowsiness and their effects on the developing nervous system are as yet unknown. One viable solution under investigation to avoid these side effects involves finding new delivery methods for these drugs.

 

Athetoid CP patients occasionally are prescribed drugs that help minimize uncontrolled movements. These drugs most often belong to a chemical group known as anticholinerics which hampers the activity of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a chemical component in the body that facilitates brain cell communication.  It also triggers muscle contraction.  The three primary Anticholinergic drugs are:  trihexyphenidyl, benztropine, and procyclidine hydrochloride.

 

Doctors may also use injections of alcohol directly into a muscle—for a short term reduction of spasticity.  This technique is called an alcohol wash and is used when they need to correct a developing contracture. The alcohol temporarily weakens the muscle and allows the doctor to lengthen the muscle through braces, therapy, or casts. If the contracture is detected early, this technique can eliminate surgery. Currently, additional experimental drug therapies are being considered.

 

 

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