In a previous study we found depressed ACTH and normal beta-endorphin values in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with West's syndrome, whereas normal peptide levels were present in infants with secondary Infantile spasms. This prompted us to study the effects of naloxone administration in children with West's syndrome. After informed consent was obtained from the parents, the effects of naloxone administration on clinical and EEG findings were evaluated in five infants 5-9 months old (3 males, 2 females) with cryptogenic infantile spasms and hypsarrhythmia. The infants were studied at the onset of symptomatology before therapy. An average of 5-10 groups of spasms were present per day. Naloxone (12 micrograms/kg body weight) was administered as an intravenous bolus in two cases, as a slow venous drip in another two cases, and intramuscularly in the last case. EEG and polygraphic monitoring were performed for 2 h. Naloxone did not induce any acute behavioral changes and the number of seizures remained unchanged after treatment. These data reject the possibility that endogenous opioids tonically modulate infantile spasms. Further studies are required to ascertain the involvement of POMC peptides in West's syndrome.
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