Mexiletine for muscle cramps in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A randomized, double-blind crossover trial

Bjorn E Oskarsson, Dan Moore, Tahseen Mozaffar, John Ravits, Martina Wiedau-Pazos, Nicholas Parziale, Nanette Joyce, Ross Mandeville, Namita Goyal, Merit E. Cudkowicz, Michael Weiss, Robert G. Miller, Craig M McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: More than 90% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients have muscle cramps, but evidence-based treatments have not been available. Methods: A multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of mexiletine 150mg twice daily was conducted in ALS patients requesting treatment of symptomatic muscle cramps. Results: Muscle cramp frequency was reduced in 18 of 20 patients; 13 reductions were attributed to treatment (P<0.05). The average reduction, based on t tests, was 1.8 cramps per day (a reduction from 5.3 with placebo to 3.5 with mexiletine). The estimated reduction of cramp severity was 15 units on a 100-unit scale (P=0.01) from a baseline average of 46. No effect on fasciculations was noted. One patient discontinued the study because of dizziness, and another patient discontinued the study to start open-label mexiletine therapy. No serious adverse event occurred. Discussion: Mexiletine is a well tolerated and effective medication for controlling the symptom of muscle cramps in ALS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMuscle and Nerve
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Fasciculations
  • Muscle cramp
  • Neuromuscular
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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