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Prescription Medication-Induced Movement Disorders

Prescription Medication-Induced Movement DisordersPrescription medication-induced movement disorders are conditions related to problems in the motor control of the body. In simpler terms, using some medications can lead to involuntary movements such as tremors. These movements occur as side effects while taking the drug or upon discontinuation.

Prescription drugs and movement disorders have traditionally been related to major tranquilizers called antipsychotics, but are not limited to these drugs, and can be caused by abuse of any prescription drug. In some cases, movement disorders develop as a response to the way certain medications block dopamine receptors in the brain, affecting the nervous system.

Types of Movement Disorders and Medications Involved

Some types of prescription drugs could cause one or more of the following movement disorders:

  • Dystonia – Involuntary movement of arms and legs, abnormal posture, twisting movements, muscular spasms
  • Parkinsonism – Tremors and postural instability or rigidity
  • Tardive dyskinesia – Continual and involuntary movements of body parts in an asymmetrical or well-coordinated fashion
  • Akathisia – Inability to stay still; restlessness

Although disorders like dystonia might stop a short time after the discontinuation of the drug, others like Parkinsonism could continue for months after stopping use. Long-term, chronic symptoms of tardive dyskinesia usually develop only after abusing prescription medications for an extended period of time.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome is another type of movement disorder and one that has a risk of becoming life threatening. Physical symptoms may range from critical muscular rigidity to coma. This serious side effect of taking medication usually disappears after a week of the discontinuation of the drug, a period in which the patient needs to be hospitalized and monitored.

A physician might prescribe additional medications to control these movement disorders. These medications work by reversing the side effects related to movement disorders regulating the neurotransmission of dopamine. Benzodiazepines and beta-blockers can also be used in the case of akathisia.

If your movement disorder is caused by an antipsychotic medication or sleep medication, you can also inform yourself about atypical antipsychotics that present fewer side effects in comparison with traditional antipsychotics.

Other medications that have a lower, though still present, risk of inducing movement disorders include:

  • Lithium carbonate – For the treatment of bipolar and manic disorder
  • Valproic acid – Mood stabilizing and anticonvulsant drug
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Used to treat depression, anxiety, and personality disorders

The managing of psychosis usually requires prescribing psychiatric medications that sometimes create side effects. In other cases, abuse of other typical prescription medications can create these side effects. Further medication help might be needed to guarantee safe and effective treatment of other clinical conditions.

Need Help for Prescription Medication Addiction?

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