Extended listing for paediatric cerebral palsy treatment

Wednesday, 09 December, 2020

Extended listing for paediatric cerebral palsy treatment

Thousands of Australian children living with cerebral palsy now have access to an additional treatment option to treat moderate to severe upper limb spasticity, following the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing extension of Dysport (Clostridium botulinum type A toxin-haemagglutinin complex).

Cerebral palsy is Australia’s most common physical childhood disability, with spasticity affecting up to 80%, and with at least two-thirds within this group having upper limb spasticity, which involves restrictive muscle tightness; loss of muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex and balance; and difficulties with arm and hand movements.

According to paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall from Lismore, NSW, “The new listing of Dysport in children with moderate to severe upper limb cerebral palsy spasticity adds to pharmaceutical treatment options that may help manage the often profound impacts of spasticity associated with cerebral palsy and potentially improve their quality of life.

“Around one in 700 Australian children and adolescents live with cerebral palsy and are faced with daily challenges resulting from incapacitating and uncontrollable muscle spasms and limited muscle movement,” Dr Ingall said.

“Neurological toxin treatment alongside a program of physical therapy can offer significant improvement in muscle tone and spasticity, reducing stiffness and movement difficulties and helps increase a child’s ability to cope with daily activities such as dressing, feeding themselves or attending school.”

The new Dysport PBS listing is based on a phase 3 study with children aged two to 17 years, being treated for upper limb spasticity due to cerebral palsy. The study is published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

“This study measured the changes from baseline using established scales to assess muscle tone and spasticity for elbow or wrist flexors at week six and subsequent treatment periods,” Dr Ingall said.

“The clinical management of children with cerebral palsy is complex, and particularly the use of toxins through painful injections [is] often both physically and psychologically distressing on children. Where possible, we aim to maximise the time to retreatment.”

More about cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy remains under-recognised in our society and has significant impact on people with cerebral palsy and their families. Quality of life is an overarching goal for those living with cerebral palsy, along with inclusion and engagement, health and wellbeing, intervention and disability support, prevention, and effective treatments that may improve function and/or reduction of symptoms.

While there is no known cure for cerebral palsy, a multidisciplinary approach is critical for those living with the disability. Generally, early intervention improves a child’s chance of overcoming development disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Early intervention, supportive treatments, medications and surgery may help many individuals improve their muscle control.

The active component of Dysport is derived from the Clostridium botulinum bacterium and acts as a muscle relaxant that works on muscle spasticity by controlling the release of the chemical messenger, acetylcholine, which is found in nerve endings and is responsible for muscle contraction. Relaxing the muscle helps to reduce abnormal muscle contractions.

Click here for Dysport Product Information.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Jaren Wicklund

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