Drugs affecting muscle spasm and spasticity

Andrew R. Benson, Kelly A. Stauffacher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


• Drugs used to manage muscle spasm and spasticity are divided into muscle relaxants and spasmolytics. Muscle spasm is a sudden, violent, involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. • Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) is the prototype for centrally acting muscle relaxants. • Centrally acting muscle relaxants do not act directly on painful muscles; rather, they work by their CNS depressant activity. • Most centrally acting muscle relaxants are not effective in treating spasticity. • In addition to their CNS depressant effects, centrally acting muscle relaxants have anticholinergic and antihistaminic effects. • Safety is a primary concern for patients receiving centrally acting muscle relaxants and spasmolytics. • Centrally acting muscle relaxants should be given with caution to older adults. They are not indicated for use in children. • Spasticity is a prolonged increased tone in muscles that may lead to contraction. • Baclofen (Lioresal) is the prototype centrally acting spasmolytic drug. • Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a miscellaneous antiepileptic drug that also has spasmolytic properties. • Dantrolene (Dantrium) is a peripherally acting spasmolytic that affects spasticity within the muscle fi bers. • Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is used to manage chronic muscle spasms that do not respond to other treatment methods. It may also be used for cosmetic purposes. • Spasmolytics should be used cautiously in patients who require spasticity to remain upright.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDrug Therapy in Nursing
PublisherWolters Kluwer Health Adis (ESP)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781469819174
ISBN (Print)9781451187663
StatePublished - Nov 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Drugs affecting muscle spasm and spasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this