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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Levetiracetam for phasic spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

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.[1]


  1. Levetiracetam for phasic spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Hawker, K., Frohman, E., Racke, M. Arch. Neurol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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