Myoclonus is a symptom of an underlying condition or in some cases, the cause is not known. Permanent cure of myoclonus depends upon the treatment of the underlying condition. The combinatorial treatment strategy is applied to treat or cure the underlying condition thereby during or hanging myoclonus.
Can You Be Cured Of Myoclonus?
The complete cure of myoclonus depends entirely upon the underlying condition due to which it has been developed. If the condition is curable through medications or surgery, the myoclonus can be permanently cured. In many neurological disorders, the condition cannot be cured rather the progression of the disease is slowed and the symptoms are managed. In those conditions, myoclonus cannot be cured. For instance, myoclonus-dystopia syndrome, a cause of myoclonus, cannot be cured and the treatment is mainly aimed to lessen the symptoms. In most of the cases, a single medicine or a single treatment is not quite effective and the doctors have to implement a combinatorial treatment strategy to provide optimum benefits to the patients. Most causes of myoclonus such as physiological or essential myoclonus or myoclonus caused due to infection or medications or toxin accumulation may be cured once the underlying cause ceases to exist.
Myoclonus is a symptom of an underlying condition. The underlying condition may be a disease or any circumstance leading to the damage of the nervous system such as accumulation of toxins or side effects of the drugs. The latter causes of myoclonus can be treated by eliminating the toxins from the body or by discontinuing the drug. However, in a certain debilitating condition which is of irreversible nature, myoclonus cannot be completely eliminated rather it can only be managed. In conditions where the myoclonus severely affects the quality of life, doctors focus on managing only the myoclonus. For this, they administer the drugs used in other neurological conditions.
Following are the various options available for managing myoclonus:
Anticonvulsants: These drugs are used to manage epilepsy including infantile epilepsy. These drugs are highly effective in managing myoclonus. The drugs should only be taken as prescribed as these drugs have side effects. The drugs in this category include valproic acid, primidone, and levetiracetam1. Treatment depends upon the site of origin of myoclonus. A drug that may be effective in a particular type of myoclonus may not be effective in another type of myoclonus. For instance, levetiracetam and valproic acid is effective in cortical myoclonus but are ineffective in other forms of myoclonus2.
Tranquilizers: Clonazepam, a tranquilizer is the first choice in the treatment of myoclonus. The drugs have side effects and the patient may also develop tolerance to this drug. Due to the risk of side effects, the doctor usually starts with a low dose and gradually taper up to the dose. Clonazepam is effective in almost all types of myoclonus2.
Botulinum Toxin Injections: Myoclonus is a sudden muscular contraction. For a muscle to contract, the chemical is released that acts as a trigger for muscle contraction. Botulinum toxins inhibit the release of this chemical messenger thereby preventing sudden jerks caused due to contraction1.
Therapies: In the treatment of psychogenic jerks, various therapies are also incorporated in the treatment strategy. These therapies include physical therapy as well as cognitive behavioral therapies.3
Deep Brain Stimulation: Deep Brain Stimulation has shown to be an effective treatment in the management of myoclonus. High-frequency Deep Brain Stimulation has been found effective in treating isolated myoclonus in myoclonus–dystonia.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery is the only option for the treatment of myoclonus. If the condition is caused due to the lesions or any tumor present in the brain or spinal cord, surgery is required to manage myoclonus1.
If the underlying condition is permanently cured, myoclonus can be cured. Such cases include myoclonus caused due to physiological abnormality, medication side effects or toxin accumulation. However, in cases such as myoclonus-dystopia syndrome, where the condition cannot be cured, myoclonus is managed through medications.
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- Who Is At Risk For Myoclonus?