If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the doctor may prescribe a few different medications to help improve their condition. The level of severity of the problem will have a massive impact on whether or not medications can help extensively. Some cases of cerebral palsy are hardly noticeable, while others are so severe that the child is bound to a wheelchair. Drugs can assist in improving motor issues and the variety of health problems that can come along with cerebral palsy.
Drugs Used for Cerebral Palsy
The doctor will need to assess the severity of your child’s condition and then will determine the types of medications that will be able to assist in their symptoms and quality of life. The medications may be adjusted over time depending on how the condition develops and some medications may only be used for the short term. Some of the things your doctor may prescribe include:
- Nerve Blocks
- Muscle Relaxers
The most common problem that children with cerebral palsy have is spastic movements of the muscles. The muscles may become stiff and spasm as well. There are medications that can help to control these muscle problems so that your child is more comfortable and has more control over their movements.
Your child’s doctor will need to determine the type of spasticity issues your child has, and the medication may vary based on this. Some medications are injected to handle specific muscle issues. Others are more generalized to control muscle problems overall. The most common medications used are benzodiazepines or muscle relaxers. Baclofen may be used to, and it is often injected directly into the fluid surrounding the spine. Botox can be used to control localized muscle spasticity concerns.
Medications to control these movements may have some side effects, such as fatigue and drowsiness, coordination problems, dizziness, nausea, and headaches.
Involuntary Movement Medications
Children who have athetoid cerebral palsy will have involuntary movements as well as poor quality muscle tone. There are medications to help the child have more control over their movements. These include anticholinergic medications that will help to block signals from the nerves. Children who need to take these medications may suffer from such side effects as dizziness, constipation, incontinence, and dry mouth.
Some children will develop seizures from cerebral palsy in the form of epilepsy. In fact, close to half of all cases will lead to some kind of seizures either on a minor or major level. Medications may be used to control the seizures, including benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Some of the medications used often include Valium, Klonopin, and Dilantin. Side effects that the child may develop include confusion, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness.
There are many other conditions that a child may develop as side effects of cerebral palsy including incontinence, acid reflux, and behavioral disorders. These types of side effects can often be easily controlled with medications prescribed by your doctor.
Some parents worry that giving their child so much medication could be a bad thing, but the doctor will only prescribe things that they feel are medically necessary for the cerebral palsy. At times, other treatments will be used as well, but parents should consider those treatments as things that can be used in addition to and not in the place of medication. Medications can often significantly increase your child’s quality of life, so this is something that you will want to discuss with your child’s doctor in detail. Keep in mind that not all children with cerebral palsy will need medication for their care, but the doctor will be able to make the best possible decisions.