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Tuesday 26 March 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Information on Specific Medical Treatments

children sitting on gym balls

The following information provides a basic level of information about two treatments that are used with specific children who have severe physical difficulties. 

More information is available from your Paediatrician, Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist. Please contact them directly for further information.


Baclofen is an anti-spasticity agent used to treat spasm, pain and stiffness. It relaxes a
muscle and spasm, and can improve mobility of the muscle.

It is available in the form of tablet, syrup and also pump that can be surgically inserted in
to the spinal cord.


Spasticity is a motor disorder characterized by velocity - dependent increase in muscle
tone and in tendon reflexes. It is caused by a hyperactive stretch reflex. A more
straightforward explanation of this is that: Spasticity is a muscle disorder characterized by
stiff muscles affecting voluntary movements.

Intrathecal Baclofen (ITB)

Children with severe spasticity are treated with Intrathecal baclofen. It can be particularly
effective for Children who did not respond well to oral baclofen and other oral spasticity
drugs. It is effective for both, spasticity of cerebral and spinal origin. It consists of a pump
and a catheter.

How does it work?

The pump stores the medicine and releases prescribed amounts of drug into the catheter
to be delivered directly in to the cerebrospinal fluid in the spinal cord. It is placed under
the skin around the abdomen region.

The pump reservoir has to be refilled every 4 - 12 weeks depending on the daily usage of
the drug.

What are the benefits of Intrathecal Baclofen (ITB)?

It helps to reduce severe spasticity and involuntary spasms in cerebral palsy, traumatic
brain injury, spinal cord surgery or multiple sclerosis. It reduces secondary complications
and the need for orthopaedic surgery. It has less side effects than oral baclofen.

What are the side effects of Intrathecal Baclofen?

Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, weakness. It could also
impair thinking and reactions. Withdrawal symptoms are seen when stopped after a long
term use.

Reference - www.my.clevelandclinic.org