Oral medication prescription practices of tertiary-based specialists for dystonia in children with cerebral palsy

Adrienne Harvey, Dinah Reddihough, Adam Scheinberg, Katrina Williams

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To examine current clinical practice for prescribing medications for children with dystonic cerebral palsy (CP) by medical doctors working at a tertiary care centre. Methods: Rehabilitation and developmental paediatric specialists completed: (i) a custom-designed online cross-sectional survey capturing their usual prescribing patterns; and (ii) one-page questionnaires detailing medication prescription for each child with CP who they started on a new medication for dystonia over a 12-month period. Results: Eleven participating doctors ranged in experience in managing children with CP from less than 5 years to more than 20 years. The cross-sectional survey showed that most doctors used more than one medication, with six making choices taking into account four or more different medications. Oral baclofen was used by all doctors and was the first choice of 10 of 11. Prospective surveys from 57 children showed that medication was prescribed mainly for children aged 3–10 years (n = 35/57), classified within Gross Motor Function Classification System levels IV and V (n = 40/57) and with a mixed movement disorder (n = 38/57). Gabapentin and baclofen were the most frequently prescribed (n = 21/57 and 19/57, respectively), with other drugs used less frequently. Dosage regimens varied between and within doctors, particularly for the use of gabapentin and diazepam. Conclusions: Oral medication prescribing practices varied among doctors managing children with dystonic CP at a tertiary care hospital, particularly with respect to dosing. There is a need for clinical guidelines for medication prescription to be developed based on best evidence and consensus by clinical experts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-404
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • cerebral palsy
  • dystonia
  • medication

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