Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Age-dependent effects of trihexyphenidyl in extrapyramidal cerebral palsy

Journal title
Pediatric neurology
Publication year
Hoon, A. H., Jr.; Freese, P. O.; Reinhardt, E. M.; Wilson, M. A.; Lawrie, W. T., Jr.; Harryman, S. E.; Pidcock, F. S.; Johnston, M. V.

Trihexyphenidyl (Artane) is a centrally active muscarinic antagonist commonly used to treat patients with generalized dystonia. In a retrospective survey of 22 consecutive children with extrapyramidal cerebral palsy, we evaluated trihexyphenidyl on upper extremity and lower extremity function, expressive language, and drooling. Functional changes were assessed using a parental questionnaire (rating scale 1-5: from 1 = little or no change to 5 = tremendous change, with scores in either a positive or negative direction). Improvements of +4 or +5 were reported in eight children for upper extremity function, in eight children for verbal expressive language, in five for drooling, and in none for lower extremity function. Using bivariate linear regression modeling to investigate variables associated with treatment effects, there was a significant inverse relationship between age at initiation of medication and therapeutic response. Furthermore, beneficial responses were specific to upper-extremity function and expressive language. These results suggest that younger children are more likely to respond to trihexyphenidyl and that primary functional benefits include improved fine motor abilities and expressive language. A prospective masked study with a standardized clinical instrument is needed to confirm these findings.

Research abstracts