Stiff-Person Syndrome

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Is there any treatment for Stiff-Person syndrome?

People with Stiff-Person syndrome respond to high doses of diazepam and several anti-convulsants, gabapentin and tiagabine. A study funded by the NINDS demonstrated the effectiveness of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment in reducing stiffness and lowering sensitivity to noise, touch, and stress in people with Stiff-Person syndrome.

What is the prognosis for Stiff-Person syndrome?

Treatment with IVIg, anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, anti-convulsants, and pain relievers will improve the symptoms of Stiff-Person syndrome, but will not cure the disorder. Most individuals with Stiff-Person syndrome have frequent falls and because they lack the normal defensive reflexes; injuries can be severe. With appropriate treatment, the symptoms are usually well controlled.

What research is being done for Stiff-Person syndrome?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts research related to Stiff-Person syndrome in its laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. A study using the drug rituximab proved ineffective in treating individuals with the disorder. Current research is focused on understanding the cause of the disease and the role of the anti-GAD antibodies.

Medically reviewed by Jon Glass, MD; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Last update: 11/15/2010

SOURCE: NINDS.gov. Stiff-Person Syndrome.

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