Spasticity is a frequent and often disabling symptom in MS patients. Current drugs used as antispastic agents include Dantrolene Sodium, Baclofen and Diazepam. Tizanidine (5-chloro-4-(2imidazolin-2 yl amino) -2, 1, 3-benzothialdiazole) is a new antispasticity agent that has purported central action. A double blind placebo controlled trial was performed to study the efficacy of this drug in MS patients. Sixty-six patients entered an eight week therapeutic trial and fifty-nine completed the trial. Patients were assessed at 0, 2, 3 and 8 weeks of therapy for clinical effects. Electrophysiologic tests were performed at 0 and 8 weeks.
A statistically significant benefit was noted in spastic muscle groups in the legs with concomitant significant reduction in hyperactive stretch reflexes and ankle clonus. Side effects most frequently cited included dry mouth and drowsiness. Two patients developed elevated liver function test that decreased with cessation of therapy. Other clinical details, side effects and electrophysiologic data will be presented.
Tizanidine appears to reduce clinical spasticity and hyperreflexia in MS patients although no change in functional status was detected. Tizanidine may well serve as an alternate antispastic agent, alone or in combination with other agents.