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More MS news articles for December 2003

Levetiracetam for phasic spasticity in multiple sclerosis

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14676055&dopt=Abstract

Arch Neurol. 2003 Dec;60(12):1772-4
Hawker K, Frohman E, Racke M.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, TX 75390-9036, USA.

BACKGROUND:

Spasticity is a common and debilitating symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Current treatments are effective, but may be difficult to tolerate for many patients.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if levetiracetam, a second-generation antiepileptic drug, may be useful for the treatment of spasticity in MS.

METHODS:

A retrospective medical record review of patients attending the Multiple Sclerosis Program at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas was performed.

A series of 12 patients who had been treated with levetiracetam for spasticity was identified.

Most of the patients were female (10/11), and the mean age was 41.0 years.

The main outcome measure was a change in Penn spasm score or modified Ashworth score.

Both scores are measured on a scale of 0 to 4.

RESULTS:

The Penn Spasm score (a measure of phasic spasticity) was decreased for all patients following treatment with levetiracetam.

The mean +/- SD Penn Spasm score was 2.7 +/- 0.65 at baseline and decreased to 0.9 +/- 0.29 at follow-up.

There was no change in modified Ashworth scores (a measure of tonic spasticity).

Five patients reported adverse events; 1 patient discontinued treatment owing to an adverse event (edema).

Three patients incidentally reported improvements in neuropathic pain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Levetiracetam was effective for reducing phasic spasticity but not tonic spasticity in this 12-patient case series.

The drug was well tolerated and therefore shows promise as a treatment for phasic spasticity.

Large, well-controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings.