Other name: Dantrium
Dantrolene sodium is a drug used to treat chronic, severe spasticity and spasms. The NICE guideline states that dantrolene can be used if treatment with baclofen or gabapentin has not been successful.
How dantrolene works
Dantrolene works by stopping some electrical impulses travelling within muscles, thereby preventing muscle contractions. This contrasts with most other spasticity drugs that work by preventing or inhibiting the way the brain and spinal cord communicate through the nerves with the rest of the body.
How dantrolene is given
Dantrolene sodium is taken orally as tablets. Dosage varies but should not exceed 400mg per day.
Side effects and contraindications
Side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness and fatigue. All of these may be transient. Another side effect can be diarrhoea, which can be severe. Dantrolene should not be taken by people with a history of liver dysfunction, or by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003;(4):CD001332. Summary Anti-spasticity agents for multiple sclerosis.
Last reviewed: November 2014
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