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July 18, 1980

Possible Value of Baclofen in Myoclonus

Author Affiliations

Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory Veterans Administration Medical Center Sepulveda, Calif School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles

JAMA. 1980;244(3):239-240. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030015012

To the Editor.—  Myoclonus, characterized by repetitive involuntary movements of skeletal muscle, is observed in several neurological conditions.1,2 The anatomic origin of the neurochemical aspects of myoclonus is not fully understood. Certain forms of myoclonus are effectively treated with the serotonin precursor tryptophan3 or by antianxiety drugs belonging to the benzodiazepine group.4 The nonavailability of a suitable animal model restricted the development of new drugs in the treatment of myoclonus.Recently we observed that administration of the putative γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) agonist muscimol, 3 mg/kg, intraperitoneally resulted in the development of myoclonic jerks in male Swiss mice. These jerks involving their hindquarter developed within ten minutes after injection, were rhythmic, and occurred at a rate of 50 to 76 per minute and lasted for 60 to 90 minutes. Both the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan, 200 mg/ kg, intraperitoneally, in mice pretreated with a decarboxylase inhibitor, benserazide, 50 mg/kg