Methylphenidate fails to improve gait and muscle tone in patients with sporadic and hereditary spastic paraplegia



Based on its action on multiple neurotransmitters, including dopamine, methylphenidate (MPH) is of growing interest as a possible treatment option for several movement disorders. Of special interest are diseases that share gait disturbance and cognitive decline. Based on a single case observation in a patient with hereditary spastic spinal paraplegia (HSP) in which gait was improved with MPH, we performed an open-label study with a longitudinal follow-up in 22 patients with HSP and its sporadic form (SSP). The patients were treated for 6 months with 60 mg of MPH per day. Computerized gait analysis and different scores were performed at baseline, after 6 weeks, and after 6 months of treatment. Although at 6 weeks, the gait velocity was somewhat improved, the drug failed to show any effect on other gait parameters and had no beneficial effect at all after 6 months. Although MPH is of interest for several movement disorders, our study did not show a beneficial effect. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society