Review article| Volume 97, ISSUE 4, P604-618, April 2016

Effectiveness of Oral Baclofen in the Treatment of Spasticity in Children and Adolescents With Cerebral Palsy

Published:August 27, 2015DOI:



      To systematically review the effectiveness of oral baclofen versus placebo or other antispastic oral medications in terms of body function, level of activity, and quality of life in children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy who are younger than 18 years.

      Data Sources

      Cochrane Library, Health Science Databases, DARE, LILACS, Embase, MEDLINE, OTseeker, PEDro, PsycINFO, SpeechBITE, ScienceDirect, Scopus, Trip,, Google Scholar, OpenGrey, and manual search.

      Study Selection

      Randomized or not randomized controlled trials and cohort studies comparing the effect of any dosage of oral baclofen with that of no treatment, placebo, or another antispastic medication in children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy were selected.

      Data Extraction

      Following the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions guidelines, 2 reviewers independently searched articles in databases from their inceptions until October 2014.

      Data Synthesis

      Six randomized controlled trials involving a total of 130 patients were selected. Studies show a great variability in motor classification, dosage of baclofen, and outcome measures. There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of oral baclofen in reducing muscle tone or improving motor function or the level of activity. The overall methodological quality of the studies was low. The main qualitative limitations of the studies correspond to serious risk of bias, inconsistency of results, unpowered sample size, and publication bias.


      There are insufficient data to support or refute the use of oral baclofen for reducing spasticity or improving motor function in children and adolescents with spastic cerebral palsy.


      List of abbreviations:

      AE (adverse effect), AS (Ashworth Scale), CP (cerebral palsy), GAS (Goal Attainment Scaling), GMFCS (Gross Motor Function Classification System), ITB (intrathecal baclofen), MAS (Modified Ashworth Scale), PEDI (Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory)
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