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Antispasmodic medicines relax muscles and reduce muscle spasms. Specifically, diazepam relaxes the brain and body, baclofen blocks signals between the spinal cord and the muscles, and dantrolene interferes with muscle contraction.
Antispasmodics can help relax muscles temporarily. Diazepam may be of some use in people with CP whose emotional stress contributes to their spasms or abnormal movements.1
The most common side effects of oral antispasmodics include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
These medicines may become ineffective when used over long periods.
Children taking these medicines may have difficulty paying attention in school. The long-term effects of oral antispasmodics on children have not been studied enough to guarantee safety.
Dantrolene may cause liver damage. Frequent blood tests are needed to check liver functioning when a person is taking this medicine.
Diazepam cannot be used in people who have glaucoma.
Baclofen may also be given directly into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord (intrathecal baclofen). A small pump is placed under the skin of the abdomen. Medicine is carried through a tube attached to the pump into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. The pump is programmed to release a continuous amount of medicine. So far, the benefits of giving baclofen this way include:
Disadvantages of using baclofen through a pump include the following:
Last Revised: April 8, 2012
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