Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gabapentin and dystonia

I've long thought of gabapentin as a drug in search of a disease.  Maybe, just maybe...

Liow NY, Gimeno H, Lumsden DE, Marianczak J, Kaminska M, Tomlin S, Lin JS.
Gabapentin can significantly improve dystonia severity and quality of life in
children. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2015 Sep 28. pii: S1090-3798(15)00168-3. doi:
10.1016/j.ejpn.2015.09.007. [Epub ahead of print]



Gabapentin has been used in the management of neuropathic pain, epilepsy and occasionally movement disorders.


A four-year retrospective, observational study analysed the use of gabapentin for severe dystonia in children at the Evelina London Children's Hospital. Motor severity was classified according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), Dystonia Severity Assessment Plan (DSAP) and levels of impairment in activities of daily living were graded according to the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Children & Youth version (ICF-CY) before and after gabapentin.


The majority of the 69 children reported were level 5 GMFCS (non-ambulant). The DSAP grade fell significantly from grade 3 before to grade 1 after gabapentin. Significant improvements in median ICF-CY grades were seen following gabapentin in sleep quality, sleep amount, mood & agreeableness, pain, general muscle tone, involuntary muscle contractions and seating tolerance (p < 0.01 in all areas). A significantly higher mean dose of 18.1 mg/kg/dose (SD: 13.3) for dystonia, compared to 7.61 mg/kg/dose (SD: 4.14) for pain relief without dystonia (z = -2.54, p = 0.011) was noted.


Gabapentin may significantly ameliorate dystonia severity and improve activities of daily living and quality of life in children with severe dystonia.

Courtesy of:

1 comment:

  1. A colleague reported long ago finding gabapentin helpful for dystonia after it was initially prescribed for other indcations, such as irritability or pain. Since this discovery, the colleague has used gabapentin for dystonia, particularly when combined with other symptoms that might also benefit from gabapentin.

    Another colleague wondered whether the primary gabapentin effect in these patients was improvement is sleep and mood, with secondary benefit to dystonia.