Topic Overview

Infantile spasms (West syndrome) are muscle spasms that affect a
child’s head, torso, and limbs. Infantile spasms usually begin before the age
of 6 months.

  • Most children with infantile spasms have
    below-normal intelligence. More than half have severe
    disabilities.
  • Although an exact cause cannot always be found,
    infantile spasms may be caused by diseases, injuries, or infections that
    occurred before or during birth.

Infantile spasms are treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone (Acthar)
or prednisone. They generally do not respond well to medicines used to treat
epilepsy. Vigabatrin (Sabril) may also be an effective
treatment for infantile spasms especially when they are caused by a disease
called tuberous sclerosis.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven C. Schachter, MD – Neurology

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017