Stiff-person syndrome with anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies: complete remission of symptoms after intrathecal baclofen administration

R J Seitz, B Blank, J C Kiwit, R Benecke
Journal of Neurology 1995, 242 (10): 618-22
A female patient, aged 61 years, who developed a severe immobilizing stiff-person syndrome in conjunction with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, is described. In addition to the typical clinical symptoms, diagnosis was proven by the presence of autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Symptomatic treatment with continuous intrathecal application of baclofen administered by a subcutaneous pump resulted in rapid clinical improvement so that the patient became ambulatory. Intermittent withdrawal from intrathecal baclofen therapy led to complete remanifestation of stiff-person syndrome within 18 h; after re-introduction of intrathecal therapy stiffness disappeared completely within 48 h. The clinical course has been stable now for over 24 months and stiffness has completely disappeared. The effect of baclofen in this patient is discussed in the light of the suggested pathophysiological mechanisms in stiff-person syndromes.

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