Updates in the Treatment of Spasticity Associated With Cerebral Palsy

Opinion statement

Spasticity affects up to 80 % of patients with cerebral palsy (CP) and often plays a significant role in limiting the child’s ability to function and participate in daily activities. The treatment of spasticity involves a multifaceted approach that includes pharmacological treatment with antispasmodics, physical therapy to maintain range of motion and prevent contractures, as well as a variety of orthopedic and neurosurgical interventions. Pharmacological agents currently used in clinical practice to treat spasticity in children have existed for almost two decades and continue to be used despite lack of solid evidence for their efficacy. Studies detailing safety profiles and optimal dosing in the pediatric population are greatly warranted. Intramuscular injection of botulinum neurotoxin is becoming increasingly popular for the treatment of segmental spasticity and current literature suggests it is safe and effective (Level A). Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) are emerging as effective interventions in improving motor function in hemiplegic CP. However, the role of these as of yet >interventions in reducing spasticity remains to be clarified.

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The authors would like to thank Alba Rinaldi for the necessary secretarial assistance.


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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Correspondence to Michael I. Shevell MD, CM, FRCP.

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Benini, R., Shevell, M.I. Updates in the Treatment of Spasticity Associated With Cerebral Palsy. Curr Treat Options Neurol 14, 650–659 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11940-012-0192-7

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  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spasticity
  • Treatment
  • Constraint-induced movement therapy
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • rTMS