Cerebral Palsy Medications
While cerebral palsy is incurable, there are a number of treatments for patients that could help improve their quality of life. If your child has been diagnosed with the disease, you should closely consult with their doctors for a treatment regimen that can include physical therapy and medications for cerebral palsy.
These can treat cerebral palsy symptoms and hopefully provide pain relief. The first thing that your family should do is seek professional medical advice.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of medical negligence, your family may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the birth injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to learn more.
How Cerebral Palsy Causes Pain and Discomfort
One of the main symptoms that children with cerebral palsy may experience is stiff muscles. With spastic cerebral palsy, the affected muscles have too much tone. This is the most common form of cerebral palsy. The goal is to treat spasticity.
In dyskinetic cerebral palsy, the child will alternate between stiff and loose muscle tone, not being able to sit stiff often. Drugs are often necessary, either to work on the muscles themselves or to manage the signals between the brain and the muscles.
How Doctors Will Treat Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy patients will receive a number of treatments, both to address the conditions of their disease and to relieve some of the 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.
One of the common drugs that provides pain relief and works on affected muscles is botox. 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. This is otherwise known as a "pain pump."
The child will have an intrathecal baclofen pump surgically inserted into their spinal cord to provide ongoing pain relief. The pump can dispense medication such as baclofen or morphine, depending on the child's needs.
Oral Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxers are one of the most common drugs that 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 cerebral palsy cases involve spastic CP. The muscles are very stiff, and they can spasm. Some children with spastic cerebral palsy will have a very stiff gait, if they are able to walk at all.
Muscle relaxants are given in oral form. They can reduce some of the orthopedic pain that is associated with spastic 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 contractions or tremors. The result will be that they have uncontrollable movements, and they need medications to reduce this type of muscle movement.
The main 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 that are used for treating spasticity:
- Benztropine mesylate.
- Carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet)
- Glycopyrrolate (Robinul)
- Procyclidine hydrochloride (Kemadrin)
- Trihexphenidyl hydrochloride
Anticholinergic medications are usually administered orally in a tablet form
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 the cerebral palsy itself or because of 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 not be able to push when they need to have bowel movements, causing them to have painful constipation. This could result in crippling abdominal pain.
Doctors may prescribe laxatives or stool softeners to help treat some of the constipation that could result from cerebral palsy. Children may need regular "clean outs" 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 place the child's life in danger. Roughly 40% of children with cerebral palsy will also have epilepsy. These neurological disorders can cause significant seizures that can leave lasting damage.
Accordingly, these children may need anticonvulsants. Seizures are caused by an overstimulation of the brain, and these medications can help reduce brain stimulation. They could control seizures by cutting back on both the frequency and the intensity.
Common anticonvulsants for cerebral palsy include:
The type of medication that your child is prescribed depends on both their brain chemistry and the type of seizures that they are having.
Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs
One of the adverse effects of cerebral palsy is inflammation. The fact the muscles are continuously stiff means that 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 some of the inflammation and bring relief from the constant pain of cerebral palsy.
Drug Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
Some parents may be hesitant to have their children take powerful pharmaceutical products on the daily basis 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 the choices that parents make regarding medications for cerebral palsy. We do urge you to work in consultation with a neurologist and a treatment team in determining the course of action for your child. 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 over the counter. Some children 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 Should Be Used in Combination With Physical Therapy
Prescribed medications are not a shortcut for 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
There are a number of things that need to be monitored when the child is taking a number of 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 that you consult with a physician for all of your child's medications for cerebral palsy. 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, along with the costs of therapy, 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 who was responsible for your child's injuries should be made to pay for the costs, along with your child's suffering.
When your child's cerebral palsy was the result of birth injuries, the doctor can be held accountable when the injury was caused by their negligence. 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 work with families to recover financial compensation when they were injured by medical malpractice. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
We will tirelessly fight for your family to receive the highest possible financial compensation that your child will need to pay for the extensive cost of treatment.