What causes infantile spasms?


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Many parents and caregivers worry about how their baby developed infantile spasms (IS). In 30% to 40% of children with IS, there is no identifiable cause. In the other 60% to 70% of children, infantile spasms are caused by an identifiable underlying condition, such as:

  • Central nervous system infections (such as herpes simplex virus, meningitis, encephalitis)
  • Abnormal brain development or injury
  • Neurological disorders with skin lesions (like tuberous sclerosis, neurofibromatosis)
  • Genetic abnormalities (for example, Down syndrome or Miller-Dieker syndrome)
  • Metabolic disorders (like mitochondrial diseases, phenylketonuria, hypoglycemia)

What you can do

It's important to speak with your pediatrician about your infant's spasms—and if IS is suspected, with a pediatric neurologist—as soon as possible. It is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. The potential consequences of IS can be difficult to face, but early diagnosis and intervention may lead to fewer long-term effects.

Getting an infantile spasms diagnosis is the first step toward treatment.

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Helpful Resources

Parent and Caregiver Brochure

Learn more about your child's IS and treatment with Acthar from this helpful and informative brochure.

Download your brochure

Acthar A.S.A.P.

See the many ways the Acthar Support & Access Program (A.S.A.P.) can help you get Acthar for your child with IS.

Learn how to give Acthar

Step-by-step videos help you walk through the administration process so you can learn, and then review, at your own pace.