Objective: Botulinum toxin (BoNT-A) is widely used in combined treatment for spastic cerebral palsy, but its added value preceding comprehensive rehabilitation for motor impairments, gait, and goal attainment has not been studied. Design: A comparative multi-centre trial, in which two groups underwent comprehensive rehabilitation (i.e. high-intensive functional physiotherapy, and indicated casting/orthoses). One group received intramuscular BoNT-A prior to rehabilitation, and the other group did not receive BoNT-A. Subjects/patients: Children with spastic cerebral palsy, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I–III, age range 4–12 years, indicated for BoNT-A treatment regarding mobility problems. Methods: Sixty-five children participated (37 boys), mean age 7.3 years (standard deviation (SD) 2.3, range 4–12 years), equally distributed across GMFCS levels. Forty-one children received BoNT-A+ comprehensive rehabilitation and 24 received comprehensive rehabilitation only. Functional leg muscle strength, passive range of motion, angle of catch, cerebral palsy-related pain, walking speed, kinematic gait parameters, goal attainment, and proxy-reported general functioning were assessed at baseline, primary end-point (12 weeks) and 24-week follow-up. Statistical analyses were performed with linear mixed models. Results: At the primary end-point there were no statistically significant differences in treatment effects between the groups, except for the angle-of-catch of the rectus femoris, which was in favour of comprehensive rehabilitation without BoNT-A (12° difference, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2:23, p = 0.025). Results at follow-up were similar. Conclusion: At the group level, treating with BoNT-A prior to comprehensive rehabilitation did not add to the clinical effectiveness of rehabilitation. Thus, BoNT-A prescription and use should be critically reconsidered in this cerebral palsy age- and GMFCS-subgroup.

Botulinum toxin, Casting, Functional physiotherapy, Goal attainment, Impairments, Orthoses, Paediatric rehabilitation, Spastic cerebral palsy
dx.doi.org/10.2340/16501977-2369, hdl.handle.net/1765/109905
Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine

Schasfoort, F.C, Pangalila, R.F, Sneekes, E.M, Catsman, C, Becher, J.G, Horemans, H.L.D, … Bussmann, J.B.J. (2018). Intramuscular botulinum toxin prior to comprehensive rehabilitation has no added value for improving motor impairments, gait kinematics and goal attainment in walking children with spastic cerebral palsy. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 50(8), 732–742. doi:10.2340/16501977-2369