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Neurosurg Focus. 2006 Aug 15;21(2):e3.

Intrathecal baclofen therapy in children.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.


Since its introduction in the late 1980s, intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy has become the standard treatment for severe generalized spasticity and dystonia in children. Treatment with ITB decreases spasticity in the upper and lower extremities and has been associated with improved function and decreased musculoskeletal contractures. In addition, ITB decreases generalized secondary dystonia and has been associated with improved comfort and ease of care in approximately 85% and with improved function in approximately 33% of patients. Continued effectiveness of ITB in treating spasticity has been observed for up to 17 years, and its effectiveness in treating dystonia has been observed for up to 10 years. Although ITB therapy is frequently associated with complications such as infections, catheter malfunctions, and cerebrospinal fluid leaks, the benefits of therapy appear to outweigh the risks. Additional investigation is needed to determine the effects of ITB on other movement disorders such as athetosis and chorea.

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