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Drug-Induced Movement Disorders in Older Adults: An Overview for Clinical Practitioners

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Objective: To provide an overview of some of the most common drug-induced movement disorders (DIMD) seen in the elderly by the primary care clinician. The epidemiology, clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, treatment, risk factors, and preventive measures are presented for each DIMD.

Data Sources: Medical literature and research article search utilizing PubMed (National Library of Medicine), Psych INFO (American Psychological Association), CINAHL Database (CINAHL Information Systems), the Library of Congress Catalogue, and the Internet.

Study Selection: Reviews and articles from 1954 to 2005 concerning various movement disorders associated with medication in older adults.

Data Extractions: Data on movement disorders associated with medications ranging from possible or controversial to well-established.

Data Synthesis: With the aging of populations in the United States and other countries, the use of medications with potential risk of precipitating movement disorders is increasing. The majority of these iatrogenic problems will be first seen in the geriatric patient in various clinical settings, typically in a primary care setting. To a large extent they will be observed in patients with mild cognitive impairment or dementia having impaired recall and reduced capacity to participate in the diagnostic interview. The challenge to clinicians is complicated by the sizable number of medications that may be involved.

Keywords: Akathisia; Dyskinesia; Dystonia; Medications; Movement disorders; Older adults; Parkinsonism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-02-01

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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