The role of Sativex in robotic rehabilitation in individuals with multiple sclerosis: Rationale, study design, and methodology

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Currently, none of the available multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying medications has been shown to stop or reverse gait disability. Recently, the nabiximols has been tested for the treatment of spasticity and walking impairment in MS. Nabiximols (trade name Sativex) is an oromucosal spray formulation containing 1:1 fixed ratio of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol derived from cloned Cannabis sativa L. plant.

Method and analysis:

A single-center, prospective, parallel design, single-blind trial will be conducted at the IRCCS Neurolesi “Bonino-Pulejo” (Italy) involving MS patients affected by spasticity and undergoing a Robotic Rehabilitation training. The aim of the study is to clarify the role of Sativex coupled to a robotic neurehabilitation training in MS patients in improving motor outcomes, by means of clinical, kinematic, and neurophysiological measures. Patients will be randomly divided in 2 groups: one taking only an oral antispastic drug and the other with Sativex in add-on. After 1 month, we will evaluate the response to Sativex (responder patients’ amelioration >20% at MRS score) enrolling into the study the first 20 patients with a good response to Sativex, whereas other 20 no-responder individuals will continue their antispastic drug. All the 40 subjects, were divided into 2 groups (A: Sativex + Lokomat Training, and B: other antispastic+Lokomat Training), will perform a neurorobotic-assisted gait training (each session will last at least 45 minutes, 3 times per week, for a total of 20 sessions). All the patients will undergo a complete physical and neurological examination at baseline, at the end of the robotic training (T1), and 30 days after the end of the neurorehabilitation training (T2).

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