Although research on neural tissue repair has made enormous progress in recent years, spinal cord injury remains a devastating condition for which there is still no cure. In fact, recent estimates of prevalence in the United States reveal that spinal cord injury has undergone a five-fold increase in the last decades. Though, it has become the second most common neurological problem in North America after Alzheimer’s disease. Despite modern trauma units and intensive care treatments, spinal cord injury remains associated with several comorbid conditions and unbearable health care costs. Regular administration of a plethora of symptomatic drug treatments aimed at controlling related-secondary complications and life-threatening problems in chronic spinal cord-injured patients has recently been reported. This article provides a thorough overview of the main drug classes and products currently used or in development for chronic spinal cord injury. Special attention is paid to a novel class of drug treatment designed to provide a holistic solution for several chronic complications and diseases related with spinal cord injury. There is clear evidence showing that new class can elicit ‘on-demand’ episodes of rhythmic and stereotyped walking activity in previously completely paraplegic animals and may consequently constitute a simple therapy against several physical inactivity-related comorbid problems. Understanding further pharmacological approaches to chronic spinal cord injury may improve both life expectancy and overall quality of life while reducing unsustainable cost increases associated with this debilitation condition.
Keywords: Chronic spinal cord injury, comorbid problems, symptomatic treatments, central pattern generator, Spinalon, treadmill training.