Cerebral Palsy Medications
While cerebral palsy (CP) is incurable, several ways of treating cerebral palsy could help improve a patient's quality of life. If your child has been diagnosed with the disease, you should closely consult with their medical provider for a treatment regimen that can include physical therapy and medications.
Pain medication, muscle relaxers, and other drugs can treat cerebral palsy symptoms and hopefully provide pain and discomfort relief. The first thing that your family should do is seek professional medical advice.
Your family may be entitled to financial compensation if your loved one has been diagnosed with CP due to medical negligence. Contact the cerebral palsy attorneys at (888) 424-5757 to learn more.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the monetary recovery you deserve.
How Cerebral Palsy Causes Pain and Discomfort
One of the main symptoms children with CP may experience is stiff muscles.
In dyskinetic cerebral palsy, the child will alternate between stiff and loose muscle tone, unable to sit for long periods. Drugs are often necessary to work on the muscles themselves or manage the signals between the brain and muscles, reducing muscle spasms.
How Doctors Will Treat Cerebral Palsy Symptoms and Associated Conditions
Patients will receive several medications and treatments. Medical care addresses the disease conditions and relieves some symptoms. Cerebral palsy treatment is a multi-disciplinary approach, which could involve:
- Medical equipment
Children with cerebral palsy are often in pain due to their stiff muscles. They often need pain medication to help them with the symptoms and to provide them with pain relief.
Botox is a common drug that provides pain relief and works on affected muscles. The child is injected with this drug therapy. Botox is a botulinum toxin that is made from bacteria. Many people know it as a plastic surgery treatment because it can block signals from the nervous system to the muscles. Botox will temporarily paralyze the muscle.
Children with more severe pain may need ongoing medication to help reduce the side effects. One form of pain relief for more severe cases of cerebral palsy is Intrathecal Baclofen.
Muscle relaxers are administered orally in tablet form, via injections, or through a pump implanted into the child's abdomen. The surgically implanted device is known as a "pain pump."
The child will have an intrathecal baclofen therapy pump surgically inserted into the spinal cord to provide ongoing pain relief. The intrathecal baclofen pump can dispense medication such as Baclofen or morphine, depending on the child's needs.
Baclofen (Lioresal) pump or oral therapy treats spasticity. Baclofen is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), acting on the GABA receptors that affect the central nervous system (CNS). The drug inhibits the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, causing spasticity.
Oral Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxers are one of the most common drugs children with CP will be prescribed. They can help relieve some of the symptoms of muscle stiffness.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the disease. Roughly 80% of CP cases involve spastic CP, which means specific muscles have too much tone, causing muscle tightness.
The muscles are very stiff, and they can spasm. The goal is to relax muscles and reduce spasticity. Some children with spastic CP will have a very stiff gait if they can walk.
Muscle relaxers are given in the oral form to reduce some of the orthopedic pain associated with the condition.
Cerebral Palsy Medication for Muscle Spasms
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy involves involuntary movements of the muscles. The child will alternate between stiff muscles and those that are too relaxed. They could experience muscle spasms. They will have uncontrollable movements and need medications to reduce this muscle movement.
The primary way to reduce uncontrolled movements is to prescribe anticholinergic medications. These medications will block the nerve impulses that help cause uncontrollable movements. The hope is that these medications can help improve muscle control.
Anticholinergic drugs are antispastic medications to manage symptoms of the condition. They can help treat generalized spasticity or a more localized form.
Here are some common anticholinergic medications used for treating spasticity:
- Benztropine mesylate.
- Carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet)
- Glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
- Procyclidine hydrochloride (Kemadrin)
- Trihexyphenidyl hydrochloride
Anticholinergic medications are usually administered orally in tablet form. Children with CP often have limited or no motor control leading to excessive drooling. Anticholinergic medications, such as Rubinol, effectively control the increased oral secretions.
Medication to Treat Depression
Cerebral palsy is an injury to the brain. Those who suffer from the condition may also deal with depression and anxiety. These conditions can occur due to cerebral palsy or the difficulty of living with the disease.
Children with cerebral palsy should not just be prescribed antidepressants on their own. They should also undergo behavioral therapy in conjunction with these medications. Common medications for depression include Lexapro and Prozac.
Medication to Treat Constipation
The lack of muscle control could also extend to the child's stomach. They may be unable to push when they need to have bowel movements, causing painful constipation. It could result in crippling abdominal pain.
The medical provider may prescribe laxatives or stool softeners to help the associated condition. Children may need regular "cleanouts" where they are treated with enemas and other remedies to remove the stool from their intestines.
Seizure activity is one of the greatest dangers of cerebral palsy. Some forms of the disease may have co-occurring epilepsy that could end the child's life. Roughly 40% of children with cerebral palsy will also have epilepsy. These neurological disorders can cause significant seizures that can leave lasting brain damage.
Accordingly, these children may need anticonvulsants to control seizures. An overstimulation of the brain causes seizures, and these medications can help reduce brain stimulation. They could control seizures by cutting back on both the frequency and the intensity.
Common anticonvulsants to control seizures include:
The type of medication your child is prescribed to treat seizures depends on their brain chemistry and the type of seizures they are having. Sometimes children build a tolerance to anticonvulsants, necessitating dosage change.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
One of the adverse effects of cerebral palsy is inflammation. The muscles are continuously stiff. They can become irritated and inflamed. There are two types of anti-inflammatory drugs:
- Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Doctors may want to avoid prescribing drugs with powerful steroids to children for obvious reasons. Therefore, they may opt for a non-steroidal drug. Anti-inflammatory drugs could reduce inflammation and relieve the constant pain of cerebral palsy.
Drug Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Some parents may be hesitant to have their children take powerful pharmaceutical products daily because they worry about the side effects and the long-term effect on their child's health. These parents may opt for natural or alternative remedies.
We do not express any judgment on parents' choices regarding medications for CP. We urge you to consult a neurologist and a treatment team to determine your child's course of action. Natural remedies for pain relief may work in conjunction with anticholinergic medications.
Over the Counter Medications for Cerebral Palsy
Some children may benefit from oral medications that are purchased without a prescription. They may take pain relievers such as Tylenol or Aleve.
In addition to medications, your child should maintain a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy can counteract some of the positive effects of therapy.
Medications Used in Combination with Physical Therapy
Prescribed medications are not a shortcut to other forms of cerebral palsy treatment. Instead, they are meant to reduce pain and lessen some of the side effects of the disease, allowing the child to progress while in physical, occupational, and language therapy.
Your child's doctor may prescribe medications in response to certain symptoms or to help improve your child's overall daily experience. It is just one of the many steps that will be taken to improve your child's health.
In addition, parents should look to join support groups that could help them with the experience of having a child with cerebral palsy.
Be Careful of Drug Interactions
Many things must be monitored when the child takes several medications for their condition.
- The child may experience withdrawal symptoms when the medication is suddenly stopped.
- If the child is taking numerous medications, there may be drug interactions between different types of treatment.
- The child's growth may be affected by heavy forms of medications
Make sure you consult a physician for all your child's cerebral palsy medications. They will be aware of the side effects of the medications and whether there will be any adverse drug interactions.
Contact a Cerebral Palsy Attorney Today
Prescription and antispastic medications and therapy costs can add up very quickly. Not only are medications expensive, but medical care and the necessary procedures could cost your family a lot of money, even when you have health insurance.
The person responsible for your child's injuries should be made to pay for the costs and for your child's suffering.
When your child's cerebral palsy resulted from birth injuries, the doctor can be held accountable when their negligence caused the injury. Your child does not have to suffer from the adverse effects of CP without your family being able to seek justice.
The cerebral palsy attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC work with families to recover financial compensation when they are injured by medical malpractice.
Call us at (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to schedule your free initial consultation. We will tirelessly fight for your family to receive the highest possible financial compensation your child will need for the extensive treatment cost.