Treatment of spasticity related to multiple sclerosis with intrathecal baclofen: A long-term follow-up
Tiina Rekand, Marit Grønning
Background: Spasticity is a frequent disabling symptom in patients with multiple sclerosis, which contributes to functional deterioration.
Objective: To evaluate the long-term effect of intrathecal baclofen therapy in multiple sclerosis-related spasticity and to evaluate the side-effects of long-term therapy, and the doses of baclofen required.
Methods: Fourteen patients with multiple sclerosis were followed up clinically for a mean of 62 months (range 19–137 months). Clinical evaluation was made using individual goals, modified Ashworth scale, and Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale.
Results: Spasticity, measured with the modified Ashworth score, decreased in all patients by a mean of 1 point. The score on the Expanded Disability Status Scale improved in 2 cases. Prior to implantation, 10 patients (72%) reported severe pain. After implantation 3 improved and 7 became pain-free. The daily doses needed for treatment were highly individual. The effect of intrathecal baclofen on spasticity lasted observation time. One patient experienced progressive cognitive impairment as a side-effect of baclofen.
Conclusion: Intrathecal baclofen is well-tolerated and the effect lasts for up to 12 years. A thorough continuous clinical assessment is required because the differentiation between symptoms of multiple sclerosis progression and side-effects of baclofen may be difficult. Intrathecal baclofen should be considered as an option for long-term treatment of patients with advanced spasticity. Pain control can also be achieved by optimized intrathecal baclofen treatment.
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