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September 2, 1974


Author Affiliations

West Palm Beach, Fla

JAMA. 1974;229(10):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230480010004

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To the Editor.—  Dantrolene was introduced early this year for the treatment of spasticity. The drug works directly on the contractile mechanism of skeletal muscle, beyond the myoneural junction; and it is therefore the first drug that directly relaxes muscle itself. Some of the reported side effects have included drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, constipation, gastrointestinal bleeding, and gastric irritation. In addition, there have been some mild central nervous system side effects. We have recently become aware of the possibility that this drug produces constipation, which, if it progresses, may lead to functional small- and large-bowel obstruction. My five associates and I have treated 75 patients with dantrolene this year and have seen three such complications.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—  A 58-year-old woman with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the colon had a colectomy in October 1970, without sign of local recurrence. In April 1974, because of a left hemiparesis with spasticity