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CERE­BELLAR ATAXIA

Cerebellar ataxia, seen primarily in patients with subtype MSA-C, arises from problems with the cerebellum, which helps to coordinate and synchronize movements. As a result, patients with cerebellar ataxia have difficulty controlling voluntary movements, including walking, speech, hand movements and other motor functions. Although no cure exists for cerebellar ataxia, treatment of symptoms can improve quality of life and prevent complications.

1. Non-pharmacologic treatment of cerebellar ataxia relies most on physical and occupational therapy. Occupational therapy has been found to improve ability to perform activities of daily living and decrease disease symptomology. Aspects of treatment also includes speech and swallowing therapy and the use of adaptive equipment.

2. While there are no medications that have proven completely efficacious in the treatment of cerebellar ataxia, there are medications that can help control symptoms. (Table 2)

Table 2: Pharmacologic Treatment of Cerebellar Ataxia Symptoms

Imbalance and Speech SymptomsTremorNystagmus
  • amatadine
  • buspirone
  • acetazolamide
  • propranolol
  • clonazepam
  • gabapentin
  • baclofen
  • clonazepam

References

  1. Jain, S., Dawson, J., Quinn, N.P. and Playford, E.D. (2004), Occupational therapy in multiple system atrophy: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Mov. Disord., 19: 1360-1364.