Which medications in the drug class Benzodiazepines are used in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Benzodiazepines are used as second-line agents for the treatment of spasticity in patients with MS. Agents in the benzodiazepine class that are commonly used include diazepam and clonazepam. While these compounds can be useful adjunct medications, they can be sedating and habit-forming and are not FDA approved for use in MS.

For patients who also experience sleep disorders, the provider may take advantage of the sedating effects of the benzodiazepines to manage the spasticity and sleep problem with a single medication. For patients with cognitive impairment, benzodiazepines may be contraindicated due to their adverse CNS effects.

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Clonazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine that increases presynaptic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition and reduces monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes. It suppresses muscle contractions by facilitating inhibitory GABA neurotransmission and other inhibitory transmitters.

Diazepam (Valium)

Diazepam modulates the postsynaptic effects of GABA-A transmission, resulting in an increase in presynaptic inhibition. It appears to act on part of the limbic system, the thalamus, and the hypothalamus to induce a calming effect. Diazepam also has been found to be an effective adjunct for the relief of skeletal muscle spasms caused by upper motor neuron disorders.

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