Medications Commonly Used to Treat the Affects of Cerebral Palsy
Treating cerebral palsy can involve a number of medications targeting different symptoms.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term used to describe a range of disorders caused by a brain injury at birth. This condition affects vital body functions as well as cognition and mobility. It usually occurs before, during or shortly after birth and may be expensive to treat and manage.
Additionally, ongoing treatment may be needed to manage complications, making it a long-term form of therapy.
Medication For Muscle Stiffness
Individuals with cerebral palsy may have muscle stiffness, also known as spasticity. This can be painful at the least, and debilitating in some cases. Muscles which remain stiff for days on end may lead to nerve damage and loss of sensation. In such cases, a muscle relaxant may help in relaxing these muscles. In such cases, doctors typically use Baclofen and Diazepam.
Botox & Dysport injections are also often used to reduce muscle tightness and decrease the likeliness of permanent muscle contracture.
Abnormal Body Movements
A variation of cerebral palsy known as athetoid cerebral palsy may manifest itself via abnormal body movements. This is the most common type of cerebral palsy which affects more than 20 percent of children born with the disorder. Symptoms include uncontrolled body movements, problems walking and abnormal posture. In such cases, doctors use Anticholinergic drugs which seek to normalize movement. Examples include Benztropine and Trihexyphenidyl.
Constipation And Digestive Issues
Individuals with cerebral palsy may also suffer from constipation. This is because excretion is controlled by muscles which are activated by a properly functioning central nervous system. In the case of cerebral palsy, these muscles don’t work as they should or are atrophied. Medication to help with proper stool movement includes stool softeners and mild laxatives.
Cerebral palsy may also cause seizures. These can lead to uncontrolled muscle contraction and stiffness. They may cause falls or further brain damage so they need to be treated in a timely manner. Anti-seizure drugs include Dilantin, Depakene, Klonopin and Tegrotol.
Inflammation and pain is also a common concern for individuals with cerebral palsy. Anti-inflammatories help reduce pain by reducing inflammation. These drugs may treat gastrointestinal pain, orthopedic, neuralgic or surgical pain. Common drug choices include aspirin and corticosteroids.
These medications can help alleviate some of the issues associated with with cerebral palsy. Please speak to your doctor regarding medication, as well as what your treatment options are.