Medium‐term functional benefits in children with cerebral palsy treated with botulinum toxin type A: 1‐year follow‐up using gross motor function measure

Department of Neuropaediatrics and Muscle Disorders, Children's University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany.
European Journal of Neurology (Impact Factor: 4.06). 11/2001; 8 Suppl 5(s5):120-6. DOI: 10.1046/j.1468-1331.2001.00044.x
Source: PubMed


One of the main goals when treating spasticity is to relieve pain and improve function. Intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) has gained widespread acceptance in the treatment of spastic cerebral palsy. Several studies have clearly shown the short-term functional benefit of BTX-A treatment. Information is limited, however, on the efficacy of medium and long-term regimens, using repeated injection of BTX-A. The aim of the present open-label, prospective study was to evaluate functional outcome in children with spastic cerebral palsy after 1 year of treatment with BTX-A, using the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) as a validated outcome measure. Patients (n=25, age 1.5--15.5 years) were treated with BTX-A for adductor spasm (n=12) or pes equinus (n=13). The local effect was evaluated using passive range of motion and modified Ashworth Scale. Apart from a significant improvement in joint mobility and reduction of spasticity compared to pretreatment values (P < 0.01), we demonstrated a significant improvement of gross motor function after 12 months of treatment, with a median gain of 6% in total and goal scores (P < 0.001). An increase in GMFM scores was particularly evident in younger and moderately impaired children (Gross Motor Function Classification System level III). Whether the observed improvement in gross motor function in children with cerebral palsy is specifically related to therapy with BTX-A or represents at least in part the natural course of motor development still needs clarification.

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