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Infantile Spasms Specialty Pharmacy 

An epileptic/seizure disorder in children causing sudden stiffening of the body by raising and bending of the arms, bending of the neck and upper body forward, and straightening of the legs.

Infantile Spasms, also known as West Syndrome, is a rare seizure disorder in children, making up approximately 30% of all cases of epilepsy affecting infants. These episodes are characterized by short (usually lasting only a few seconds) seizures that often happen in a series or "cluster", which can last several minutes. These seizures most often happen upon waking, and rarely during sleep. These spasms typically begin before the age of one. These spasms can sometimes be confused with normal baby behaviors, including colic.


It is believed that there are hundreds of possible causes of Infantile Spasms. However, the most common cause stems from structural changes within the brain. These can be due to a prior injury such as a brain infection, lack of oxygen to the brain, or a change in the way the brain has developed. The most common symptoms are sudden jerking of the trunk and limbs that often appear as if the infant has been startled. Less noticeable symptoms can appear as a slight nodding of the head, or subtle neck movements. Infants may cry during or after the seizure, which can help in identification of Infantile Spasms. Once Infantile Spasms begin, development such as language skills can become impaired and slowed, and children may become less socially interactive. Children may also stop smiling or lose developmental skills that were previously learned, such as sitting up or rolling over. Infantile Spasms is most often diagnosed by electroencephalography (EEG), which detects specific patterns of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Other testing may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetic testing, and blood/urine testing. Infantile Spasms are treated by coordination of medical teams such as pediatrics, neurology, and surgery. First line treatments include hormonal therapy with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), Prednisolone/Prednisone, and an anti-seizure drug Vigabatrin. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is widely regarded as the most effective treatment for Infantile Spasms.

Learn More About Infantile Spasms

For more on Infantile Spasms, please visit the link below for an educational video presented by the Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York (EFMNY).

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