Role of Baclofen in Modulating Spasticity and Neuroprotection in Spinal Cord Injury
Nídia de Sousa, Diogo Santos, Susana Monteiro, Nuno Silva, Antón Barreiro-Iglesias, António J Salgado
Spinal cord injury (SCI) affects an estimated three million persons worldwide, with ∼180,000 new cases reported each year leading to severe motor and sensory functional impairments that affect personal and social behaviors. To date, no effective treatment has been made available to promote neurological recovery after SCI. Deficits in motor function is the most visible consequence of SCI; however, other secondary complications produce a significant impact on the welfare of patients with SCI. Spasticity is a neurological impairment that affects the control of muscle tone as a consequence of an insult, trauma, or injury to the central nervous system, such as SCI. The management of spasticity can be achieved through the combination of both nonpharmacological and pharmacological approaches. Baclofen is the most effective drug for spasticity treatment, and it can be administered both orally and intrathecally, depending on spasticity location and severity. Interestingly, recent data are revealing that baclofen can also play a role in neuroprotection after SCI. This new function of baclofen in the SCI scope is promising for the prospect of developing new pharmacological strategies to promote functional recovery in patients with SCI.