Several medicines may be used to treat
muscle stiffness (spasticity) caused by
multiple sclerosis (MS).
Often a combination of these medicines given in small
doses is better tolerated and more effective than a larger dose of a single
Some people try alternative therapy. One study found
that 97% of people who used marijuana reported improvement in spasticity and
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
Simpson DM, et al. (2008). Assessment: Botulinum neurotoxin for the treatment of spasticity (and evidence-based review): Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 70(19): 1691–1698.
Krupp LB, Rizvi SA (2002). Symptomatic therapy for
underrecognized manifestations of multiple sclerosis. Neurology: Practical Issues in the Management of Multiple Sclerosis, 58(Suppl 4): S32–S39.
February 15, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
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