Cerebral Palsy Medications

Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive neurological disorder resulting from infantile brain injury or malformation. The disorder is manageable with an adequate combination of medical therapies and medications. While therapies frequently resolve many muscular issues associated with the disorder, medications may be required to combat certain symptoms including involuntary body movements, involuntary muscles spasms, and chronic seizures. Typically, cerebral palsy treatment begins during childhood; therefore, it’s highly common for children to receive multiple prescriptions in addition to attending regular occupational, speech or physical therapy sessions. However, medications can be effective when prescribed without related cerebral palsy treatments.

Pharmaceuticals to Combat Certain Cerebral Palsy Symptoms and Side Effects Include:

  • Cerebral palsy patients frequently experience muscle spasms as a result of impaired muscular development due to brain damage. However, physical therapies including stretching and strengthen exercises, combined with certain pharmaceuticals may decrease or eliminate the occurrence of unpredictable or uncontrollable spasms.
  • In conjunction with muscular and speech difficulties, patients often cope with seizures of varying degrees of severity and frequency. Children typically experience infantile and febrile spasms in addition to other generalized and partial seizure classifications. Though a single seizure may go unnoticed, some patients may use medications to limit daily, weekly or monthly seizures and episodes.
  • Dystonic cerebral palsy, along with other classifications of the disorder, causes patients to drool, have uncontrollable body movements and have rigid or misaligned posture. Anticholinergics aid patients in maintaining more control over random movements and relaxing their overall body posture.

The Most Commonly Prescribed Cerebral Palsy Medications and Applicable Uses in Cerebral Palsy Patients

  • In patients with dystonic cerebral palsy, both over productive salvia glands and limited muscle functionality may contribute to uncontrollable drooling. Glycopyrrolate, known by the brand name Robinul, targets saliva glands to reduce to production to manageable levels. The drug relaxes gastrointestinal, muscular structures to relieve abdominal pain and irritable colons.
  • Congentin, known generically as benztropine, belongs to the anticholinergic pharmaceutical class and serves to block acetylcholine, a naturally occurring substance within the body. The medication works to decrease saliva production, muscle stiffness, and sweating. The drug shows a particular effectiveness in eliminating muscle spasms in the eyes, back, and neck.
  • When prescribed to cerebral palsy patients, Botox, or botulinum toxin, serves to treat involuntary muscle spasms in the facial and neck region. Through the utilization of injections, the treatment provides short-term relief of certain types of muscles spasms associated with certain forms of cerebral palsy.
  • Diazepam, otherwise known as Valium, deals with the relief of involuntary muscles spasms in cerebral palsy patients. Occasionally, medical professionals may consider the drug for treatment of seizures depending on the patient.
  • Known generically as lamotrigene, Lamictal is an antiepileptic and anticonvulsant pharmaceutical used to restore the balance of natural chemicals and substances in the brain’s chemical composition.
  • Lioresal targets muscles in an effort to relax rigid postures and eliminate the occurrence of muscle spasms. Also known as baclofen, the drug is prescribed to cerebral palsy patients with chronic muscular spasm issues.

Concerns Regarding Cerebral Palsy Medications and Growing Children

Most cerebral palsy patients begin receiving treatments and attending various therapy sessions during childhood, which leads to significant concerns regarding the use of certain pharmaceuticals and their long-term effects on the patient’s development. Some medical professionals believe oral antispasmodic drugs carry negative side effects for growing children. In young cerebral palsy patients, even drowsiness can significantly inhibit the child’s already impaired ability to concentrate and learn in educational settings. Doctors’ are growing concerned with the risk of severe side effects outweighing the benefits of certain medications. Before committing to a regimen of medications, caregivers and patients should consult with medical professionals regarding the drug’s success, long-term side effects, and alternative options.

 

References:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/detail_cerebral_palsy.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21540003

 

 

 

 

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