Treatments available include both medication and surgery.
Medication Treatment Options:
- Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam or diazepam
- Anticholinergics such as trihexiphenidyl
- GABAergic drugs such as Baclofen
- Antiepileptics such as carbamazepine
- Antidopaminergic agents such as tetrabenazine
- Dopaminergic agents such as pramipexole or ropinirole
Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox)
- Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It has the effect of weakening muscles for several weeks at a time. Botulinum toxin is injected into specific muscles, reducing the spasms by blocking the nerves to that muscle. These injections may be repeated after the effect fades several months after the initial injection. Northwestern Memorial neurologists have extensive experience treating patients affected by dystonia with this technique.
Surgical Treatment Options:
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
- Deep brain stimulation is now frequently used to treat patients with dystonia that does not respond adequately to medical therapy. Patients can often have dramatic improvements in their symptoms while reducing their medications. Dystonia patients who desire an evaluation for surgery at Northwestern are seen by both a fellowship-trained movement disorders neurologist and a fellowship-trained movement disorders neurosurgeon. Published data of patients with dystonia undergoing deep brain stimulation are smaller than those for tremor and Parkinson’s disease. However, dystonia and torticollis (cervical dystonia) also appear to respond well to stimulation. While many dystonias respond well to stimulation, patients with certain genetic forms (such as those due to changes in the “DYT” genes) do especially well. Generalized dystonia and cervical dystonia (torticollis) can improve by as much as 75 percent.
Last UpdateJune 16, 2011