Dantrolene in the treatment of spasticity

A. D. Korczyn, D. Galinsky, V. M. Berginer, C. Goren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spasticity is a common manifestation of damage to the central nervous system. The many drugs used to treat spasticity differ structurally and have various mechanisms of actions. All have side effects limiting their use. Dantrolene sodium (Dantrium), a newly introduced agent, reduces spasticity through a novel action affecting the muscle itself, rather than the nervous elements. The action of dantrolene was investigated in 30 patients with spasticity due to various causes. A double-blind cross-over test was employed with gradual increase of the dose over six weeks, from 50 mg/kg to 400 mg/kg daily as tolerated. Prior to the study all patients were in a static state and no spontaneous improvement or worsening was expected. 21 of the 30 patients concluded the study and nine were withdrawn, usually for reasons not directly connected to the effect of the drug. Eight patients showed objective benefit from dantrolene exceeding that of the placebo, as measured by decreased limitation of passive movement and decrease in tendon reflex hyperactivity. In no case was the placebo superior to the active drug. Of the patients with no objective difference between dantrolene and placebo, four preferred the dantrolene (and none the placebo) claiming that it helped them subjectively and enabled improved functioning, self care, etc. One patient had biochemical signs of obstructive hepatic damage during dantrolene therapy but they were reversed when the drug was withdrawn. It is concluded that dantrolene sodium is a beneficial ancillary aid in the treatment of spasticity, although not effective in all cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-11+47
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1978


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