Dyskinesia causes, symptoms, and treatment options

Dyskinesia causes, symptoms, and treatment options

Dyskinesia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary or uncontrolled muscle movements. This movement disorder initially appears on the same side of the body most affected by Parkinson’s disease. It may affect either one part of the body or spread to other parts. It can affect speech, respiratory, and eye muscles in some rare cases. Dyskinesia can affect daily life, severely affecting everyday movements. So, one should learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

This movement disorder is typically associated with the long-term use of levodopa, a drug used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Dyskinesia may develop earlier in some people, especially if they are on a high dose of levodopa.

As there is a lack of dopamine-producing brain cells in Parkinson’s disease, levodopa is administered as a standard treatment. Levodopa temporarily restores the levels of dopamine in the brain. However, as the medication is given multiple times a day, dopamine levels rise and fall, causing the involuntary movements of dyskinesia.

Brain injuries such as vascular events or other brain damage cause dyskinesia. However, this is less common.

In some, the symptoms can be mild and barely noticeable, while in others, the symptoms can interfere with normal functioning. The symptoms may begin as mild movements such as minor shakes, tics, or tremors and may worsen over time gradually or develop suddenly. The symptoms can also intensify after a serious brain injury. Most often, dyskinesia occurs during times when other Parkinson’s symptoms are under control.

Common symptoms of dyskinesia

Body swaying
It is the involuntary rhythmic shaking of body parts such as the hands, head, or other body parts.

Persons with this movement disorder become fidgety. They usually move their hands or feet restlessly.

Head bobbing
Head bobbing is another noticeable symptom of this disorder.

Uncontrolled sudden movements are a common symptom in persons with dyskinesia.

This disorder also causes wriggling movements of the face, arms, or legs.

Severe symptoms of dyskinesia include multiple parts of the body moving involuntarily. There are many different types of dyskinesia, and each type causes specific symptoms. Common types include the following.

Athetosis is associated with brain damage and causes slow and writhing movements.

Quick movements of the limbs are the main symptom of this form of dyskinesia.

Tardive dyskinesia
This type causes repetitive and involuntary movements such as eye blinking and grimacing.

Myoclonus dyskinesia
This condition causes severe symptoms like lightning-quick jerks of a muscle or group of muscles.

The treatment usually depends on the type of dyskinesia and the severity of symptoms. Some of the treatments include the following.

Changes in medication
Changing the dose or timing of levodopa may balance the levels of dopamine and decrease symptoms. The dose has to be lowered in a way that it is enough to control Parkinson’s symptoms while not causing dyskinesia.

Switching medication
Another treatment option is to switch to an extended-release form of levodopa. These drugs help to keep dopamine levels steady and limit dyskinesia.

Deep brain stimulation
This procedure is considered for those who have had Parkinson’s for at least four years and have dyskinesia. Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure where a small device similar to a pacemaker is placed inside the brain. This device sends electrical signals to the parts of the brain that control movement.

Other therapies
For some patients with dyskinesia that impact the facial, neck, and limb regions, botulinum toxin or Botox injections may help reduce or limit involuntary movements.

Several additional therapies are currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of dyskinesia. Your healthcare professional will decide the best treatment for the management and treatment of the condition. Ensure that you discuss all possible side effects and resolve any queries that you may have regarding your treatment plan with your doctor. The treatment plan will be decided only after careful observation of the different abnormal movements.