Movement Problems & Meds
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Q:  Movement Problems & Meds

Dear Dr Phelps,  In the past I have been prescribed Chlorpromazine and later Thoridazine.  I took a  very small dosage of Thoridazine, at a guess 5mg, for over 5 years.  I have developed a painful problem with my  neck during that time and after I stopped taking Thoridazine.  My neck gets very painful at night, jerking from side to side, and can be rigid during the day time.  Some nights my legs get painful and jerk.  Is this a form of Parkinson's that I have developed through medication, and will this remain with me or fade away now that I haven't been taking Thoridazine for about four years.  I have had Bi Polar Disorder since I was 14 years old, have been in and out of hospital with acute psychoses ever since then, and am now 33 years old. Thank you for reading my e-mail.

Yours sincerely,

Dear Simon -- 
Sounds like you're describing a movement problem that these medications can cause called tardive dyskinesia.  Ask your doc' about that.  Stimulated by your question, as I don't use these medications much anymore so haven't been watching the latest developments, I searched "tardive dyskinesia treatment" on Google.  Since you might do the same, let me just caution you:  this is a pretty common problem so there are folks out there trying to make a buck off people with such problems.  Here's an example, I think: 
Symmetry .  

On the other hand, here are other treatments that are worth looking into more closely, as there is some science behind them: 

So, there's lots to learn (and I'm not a specialist in this area).  Finally, you should know that clozapine, a medication somewhat like Thioridazine except much more effective, and very specifically effective in bipolar disorder conditions, has also been tried as a "treatment" for tardive dyskinesia -- so that's worth keeping in mind as you learn your way along.  Of course, I could be wrong about this being tardive dyskinesia; but that's a good place to start. 

Dr. Phelps

Published February, 2003


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