Clinical effectiveness of oral treatments for spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review
Spasticity is a common disabling feature of multiple sclerosis. A variety of drugs are in regular use as oral treatment, including baclofen, dantrolene, tizanidine, and diazepam. Published evidence of effectiveness is limited. Most trials are of small size, of short duration, and have not reported on functional outcomes. Studies have been published which suggest that baclofen, tizanidine, and diazepam are all effective in reducing clinical measures of spasticity, but there is little evidence that they lead to an improvement in patient function. There is no evidence to suggest any difference in effectiveness between them. The evidence that dantrolene has any effect on spasticity is of poor quality. Diazepam and dantrolene are associated with more side effects than baclofen and tizanidine. There is evidence for the effectiveness of gabapentin in reducing spasticity and improving function in the short term, though longer-term studies are needed to establish its true value. One randomized controlled trial of threonine does not support its effectiveness.