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NINDS Paroxysmal Choreoathetosis Information Page


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What is Paroxysmal Choreoathetosis?

Paroxysmal choreoathetosis is a movement disorder characterized by episodes or attacks of involuntary movements of the limbs, trunk, and facial muscles. The disorder may occur in several members of a family, or in only a single family member. Prior to an attack some individuals experience tightening of muscles or other physical symptoms. Involuntary movements precipitate some attacks, and other attacks occur when the individual has consumed alcohol or caffeine, or is tired or stressed. Attacks can last from 10 seconds to over an hour. Some individuals have lingering muscle tightness after an attack. Paroxysmal choreoathetosis frequently begins in early adolescence. A gene associated with the disorder has been discovered. The same gene is also associated with epilepsy.

Is there any treatment?

Drug therapy, particularly carbamazepine, has been very successful in reducing or eliminating attacks of paroxysmal choreoathetosis. While carbamazepine is not effective in every case, other drugs have been substituted with good effect.

What is the prognosis?

Generally, paroxysmal choreoathetosis lessens with age, and many adults have a complete remission. Because drug therapy is so effective, the prognosis for the disorder is good.

What research is being done?

NINDS supports and conducts research on movement disorders such as paroxysmal choreoathetosis. Much of this research is aimed at finding ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Paroxysmal Choreoathetosis Clinical Trials

Organizations

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Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
1 East Wacker Drive
Suite 2810
Chicago, IL   60601-1905
dystonia@dystonia-foundation.org
http://www.dystonia-foundation.org
Tel: 312-755-0198
Fax: 312-803-0138

 


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated February 14, 2007