Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 10, P1116-1126, May 15, 1990

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Postural myoclonus associated with long-term administration of neuroleptics in schizophrenic patients

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      Postural myoclonus associated with long-term administration of neuroleptics was demonstrated in schizophrenic patients. Sixty patients who had been taking neuroleptics for more than 3 months were investigated for myoclonus and the relationships between postural myoclonus and age, duration of illness, duration of medication, current daily dose, cumulative dose, occurrence of abnormal finger movement, parkinsonism, and tardive dyskinesia were evaluated. Twenty-three patients (38%) showed postural myoclonus when holding the hands forward with the elbow joints flexed at about 90%. Male patients showed a higher incidence of myoclonus than female patients. Patients with myoclonus had been given significantly higher doses of neuroleptics than those without myoclonus. There was a significant correlation between the occurrence of myoclonus and abnormal finger movement. Electromyographic recordings in 7 patients with prominent myoclonus revealed that arrhythmic jerks occurred in the extensor carpi radialis and posterior deltoid muscles and that the jerks on the left and right side were not synchronized. Clonazepam reduced the frequency of the myoclonic activity.
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