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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 forms of natural or man-made substances related to marijuana, called cannabinoids, may help relieve spasticity.
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.
Other Works Consulted
Vijayshree Y, et al. (2014). Summary of evidence-based guideline: Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis: Report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 82(12): 1083–1092.
Current as of:
May 22, 2014
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
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