Myoclonus is an involuntary jerk of a muscle or many muscles. It is a rapid movement and an irregular one. This movement can neither be stopped nor controlled. There may be a pattern to the occurrence of these movements, or they may just appear randomly. Myoclonus is generally seen as a sign or symptom of another underlying condition. It is very rarely seen as a separate disease. Myoclonus treatment is best effective when the underlying cause of myoclonus is treated2
How Long Will It Take To Recover From Myoclonus?
The focus of treatment for myoclonus is generally at treating the underlying condition that is responsible for causing myoclonus. However, in some cases, treating or curing the underlying condition may not be possible. In such cases, the treatment is directed towards reducing the symptoms of myoclonus.
The recovery from myoclonus may require as long as the time required treating or curing the underlying cause. In some cases, it may not be possible to recover completely from myoclonus and long-term medications and treatment may become necessary. Also, there are no particular medicines to treat myoclonus. The doctors usually try to identify the cause of myoclonus and aim the treatment at that. In cases when this is not possible, the treatment focus is on improving myoclonus symptoms
Treatment Of Myoclonus
If the underlying cause for myoclonus is found and if the underlying cause is treatable or reversible, then the treatment for myoclonus can be more effective.
However, many times the underlying cause cannot be known and if known, cannot be reversed or treated. In such cases, the aim of the treatment is at reducing or improving the myoclonus signs and symptoms. This is especially required when the signs and symptoms of myoclonus are particularly debilitating.
Also, there are no specific drugs for treating myoclonus. But doctors use medicines for other diseases to treat myoclonus symptoms. At times, single drugs may not be effective in treating myoclonus and more drugs may be needed to be added to the treatment regime.1
The commonly prescribed medicines for myoclonus include-
- Tranquilizers are the most commonly used medicines in the treatment of myoclonus
- An example is clonazepam
- Tranquilizers may cause unwanted effects like drowsiness and loss of coordination1
- These are the drugs used in controlling seizures in epilepsy
- These have proven to be useful in improving symptoms of myoclonus as well
- Levetiracetam, valproic acid, primidone etc. are the most commonly used anticonvulsant drugs in myoclonus
- However, there may be some side effects associated with the use of these drugs. The side effects may include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, sedation etc.1
Other Treatment Methods And Therapies-
- Botox injections or botulinum toxin A injections may be used in the treatment of myoclonus
- This can be especially helpful if one single area or muscle is affected by myoclonus
- These injections help in blocking the release of a chemical component that sets off the muscle contractions
If the underlying cause of myoclonus is a tumour or a condition in the brain or spinal cord, surgery may be the option to treat the underlying condition and improve myoclonus
- Organs like face and ear if affected by myoclonus may also be treated with surgery
- DBS or deep brain stimulation is under study for treatment in myoclonus
- It has been tried in a few cases of myoclonus as well as other movement disorders
Myoclonus is usually caused due to some underlying condition. It is necessary to treat the underlying condition first in order to treat myoclonus. The recovery from myoclonus will take as long as it takes to cure the underlying condition. In cases where the underlying cause is not known or is not treatable or reversible, the focus of the treatment will be on improving or reducing myoclonus signs and symptoms.
- Myoclonus: Causes, Symptoms, Investigations, Treatment
- Alternative Treatment For Myoclonus
- Is There A Surgery For Myoclonus?
- Lifestyle Changes For Myoclonus
- What Happens To Untreated Myoclonus?
- Who Is At Risk For Myoclonus?