• Baclofen;
  • Idiopathic dystonia;
  • Children


Baclofen benefits some patients with adult onset dystonia, but few reports document the response to baclofen of children with idiopathic dystonia. Sixteen of 80 patients <age 21 years with idiopathic dystonia seen by the Movement Disorder Group at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York were treated with baclofen. Five had substantial improvement in symptoms, two had moderate improvement, and nine failed to benefit. Three of the improved patients had tranient improvement on high dose anticholinergics, but had sustained, dramatic improvement when baclofen was added. At last follow-up, five patients maintained improvement for a mean 3.8 years (19 months–8 years) on a mean 79 mg of baclofen (40–120 mg). Response to baclofen did not correlate with age at onset of dystonia or age at onset of therapy, but did correlate with duration of symptoms before therapy (3 years for those who improved vs 7.8 years for those who did not: p <.002 by t-test). Baclofen can be an effective treatment for childhood dystonia.