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April 23, 1960


Author Affiliations

Winnebago State Hospital Winnebago, Wis.

JAMA. 1960;172(17):1971-1972. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020170097024

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To the Editor:—  The tetanus-like reactions described in The Journal by Scime and Tallant (171:1813 [Nov. 28] 1959) and Plummer and others (172:600 [Feb. 6] 1960) are usually termed dystonic or dyskinetic reactions and are well known to psychiatrists using tranquilizing drugs. These reactions usually occur within the first week of treatment and most frequently within the first three days. All dystonic reactions are transitory but often recur within a period of 48 hours. This fact alone can be reassuring to the patient. Although the reactions look dangerous to the unprepared observer, they usually yield readily to appropriate therapy. I am not aware of any reported deaths directly related to dystonic reactions due to tranquilizing drugs. I agree with Scime and Tallant that these reactions may be observed after receiving a small dose, but in my experience they occur less frequently than they would if a larger dose

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