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 Gel from this helpful and informative brochure.

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Acthar Hub

See the many ways the Acthar Hub can help you get Acthar Gel for your child with IS.

Step-by-step injection guide

Download this informative injection guide to keep handy during your child’s injections.

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