Definition of Dyskinesia

Abnormal, involuntary movements. Dyskinesia results from damage to the structures within the brain responsible for motor movement and coordination, notably the basal ganglia. Athetosis, chorea, dystonia, myoclonus, tics, and tremors are all forms of dyskinesia that may appear in neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, Restless legs syndrome, cerebral palsy, and essential benign tremor.

Abnormally slow movements are bradykinetic (bradykinesia) and abnormally rapid movements are hyperkinetic (hyperkinesis). It is common for people who have neuromotor disorders to have more than one form of dyskinesia. Medications such as anticholinergics and muscle relaxants can sometimes improve dyskinesia.

Tardive dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia is a form of dyskinesia that develops with long-term use of dopamine antagonist medications, which block dopamine from reaching dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine antagonists are the convention of treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Many antipsychotic medications to treat schizophrenia and other serious psychiatric illnesses also are dopamine antagonists. Tardive dyskinesia is often irreversible.

See also TREMOR DISORDERS.

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