top of page

SPS Medications & Treatments

SPS is a rare, progressive neurological disorder characterized by severe muscle spasms that can break bones, dislocate joints, and result in life-threatening breathing problems. The impact on a patient’s quality of life reaches far beyond the physical — challenging their mental, emotional, and social well-being.

Medications and Treatments for SPS

Treatment is Focused on Relief from Symptoms
Treatment currently focuses on relief from difficult symptoms, usually muscle spasms and pain. Additionally, immunotherapies involve medications and other treatments to address specific autoimmune abnormalities.

Effectiveness of Treatments Vary
People with SPS have very different responses to treatments, so medications are carefully tried and evaluated by the patient and their physicians. It is not possible to reliably predict which medications will be effective for an individual, though some experts report that the types of SPS antibodies in a person might influence which immunotherapies are most likely to be effective.

There is No Cure for SPS
There is currently no cure for SPS. Medications and other treatments may help reduce stiffness, muscle spasms, and pain in some individuals. Unfortunately, though, most patients with SPS still have at least some degree of disability.

The specific details of how each medication works is beyond the scope of this discussion, though general medication categories with some specific examples are listed below.

All of these medications have significant risks and side effects which may cause other problems or limit the use of any of these medications. These medications must be prescribed and monitored closely by a physician who has expertise in their use and management.

Symptomatic Relief for Muscle Spasms and Pain

  • Muscle Relaxants

    • Baclofen (Lioresal) – May be given orally or directly infused into the spine with an implantable pump which requires surgery.

    • Benzodiazepine group including diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin)

    • Tizanidine (Zanaflex)

    • Methocarbamol (Robaxin)

    • Botox injections – paralyze muscles around the site of injection

    • Dantrolene (Dantrium) – first doses usually given intravenously in a hospital

  • Anti-seizure Medication (may help with pain management)

  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)

  • Tiagabine (Gabatril)

  • Valproate (Depakote)


Other types of pain relievers, including narcotics and anesthetic agents, are infrequently used and have a limited role in the pain management of SPS. Some of these medications can make treatment with the main drugs more difficult.*

Other therapies which may help with SPS muscle spasms or pain include:

Disclaimer: The content of this Website is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and does not in any way intend to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to be medical advice for any particular person or patient and should not be relied upon as medical advice. You should always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for medical advice, including any questions you may have regarding diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

Contributors to this document include: Jim Weiss, MD; Vered Lewy-Weiss, MD; Tara Zier, DDS and SPS patient.

bottom of page