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Baclofen__The_Dependable_Skeletal_Muscle_Relaxant_for_MS_Patients

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									Title:
Baclofen: The Dependable Skeletal Muscle Relaxant for MS Patients

Word Count:
779

Summary:
This article is about a disease that is affecting thousands of people in
the United States. Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a chronic and potentially
incapacitating disorder. This disorder affects the central nervous system
in which pain and spasticity are the most common symptoms. However, one
medication was identified by numerous researches that can decrease the
spasticity of MS patients. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant commonly used to
decrease spasticity related to spinal cord injuries, or other
neurological diseases such as MS.


Keywords:
muscle relaxant, skeletal muscle relaxants, virus


Article Body:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people
in the United States. This estimate suggests that approximately 200 new
cases are diagnosed each week with this disease. This degenerative
(marked by gradual deterioration of organs and cells along with loss of
function) disease affects more women than men, and most people show the
first signs between the ages 20 to 40 years old. It is chronic and
potentially incapacitating.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system or the brain
and spinal cord areas in the body. Believed to be an autoimmune disorder,
MS is a condition where the patient’s immune system produces antibodies
against their own body. These antibodies and WBCs (white blood
corpuscles) are then directed against proteins in the “myelin” sheath.
The myelin sheath is made up of fatty substances that protect the nerve
fibers in the spinal cord and brain. This attack usually results in
injury and swelling to the myelin sheath and ultimately to the
surrounding nerves. The injury leads to scarring or sclerosis in multiple
areas of the central immune system, thus damaging the nerve signals and
control muscle coordination. The disease also eventually impairs vision
and muscular strength.
The nature of MS is unpredictable and it can vary in severity from person
to person. While some patients who suffer from the said disease only
experience mild illness, other MS cases can also lead to permanent
disability. Treatments for MS can help in modifying the course of this
illness while relieving symptoms.
Determining the real cause of MS still remains elusive even if scientists
have already learned a great deal about MS in recent years. It is known
that MS is a form of autoimmune disease --- one in which the body,
through its immune system, launches a defensive attack against its own
tissues. In the case of MS, it is the nerve-insulating myelin that comes
under assault. Such assaults may be linked to an unknown environmental
trigger such as a virus infection.
Pain and spasticity are two of the most common symptoms from which people
with MS suffer. Spasticity is a muscle problem characterized by tight or
stiff muscles that may interfere with voluntary muscle movements.
Spasticity is a muscle problem characterized by tight or stiff muscles
that may interfere with voluntary muscle movements. A recent survey of
members by the MS Society found that 54% reported pain as a current
symptom, while 74% reported experiencing spasticity. The importance of
these symptoms is not simply because of their frequency, but also because
of the impact they have on the patient's daily life. As the disease
progresses, so does the spasticity, resulting in muscle spasms,
immobility, disturbed sleep, and pain. Disability resulting from
spasticity often forces patients to need extensive nursing care.
Pain can be caused by a variety of factors including spasticity itself,
in addition to neuronal damage due to the disease process. Not
uncommonly, it may be musculoskeletal in origin, arising as a result of
abnormal posture following the disability caused by MS.
There are several treatment options for MS. However, one medication that
was commonly cited by different and numerous research is called Baclofen.
This medication can help decrease the spasticity of MS patients. Baclofen
is a muscle relaxant commonly used to decrease spasticity related to
spinal cord injuries, or other neurological diseases such as MS.
Spasticity is caused by an imbalance of electrical signals coming from
the spinal cord through the nerves to the muscle. This imbalance causes
the muscle to become hyperactive, resulting in involuntary spasms.
Baclofen works by restoring the normal balance and reducing muscle
hyperactivity. In this way, it allows for more normal muscle movements.
Baclofen, also known under the brand name Lioresal, can be taken as a
pill or delivered directly into the intrathecal space, an area in the
spine. The space contains the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which surrounds
the spinal cord and nerve roots. Most often, MS patients receive
intrathecal baclofen, since oral Baclofen can cause unpleasant side
effects. Since the medication does not circulate throughout the body,
only tiny doses are required to be effective, therefore the side effects
are minimal. Through intrathecal Baclofen it will deliver the right drug
right to the target spot in the spinal cord.
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be
weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision the MS patient
and the doctor will make. Skeletal muscle relaxants such as Baclofen are
used to relax certain muscles in the body and relieve the stiffness,
pain, and discomfort for MS patients. However, these medicines do not
take the place of rest, exercise or physical therapy, or other treatment
that a doctor may recommend.

								
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