[Skip to Navigation]
November 1981

Involuntary Movements Associated With Methadone

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology Henriettenstiftung 3000 Hannover, West Germany

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(11):737. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510110097023

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


To the Editor.—  Wasserman and Yahr reported choreic movements under methadone hydrochloride maintenance treatment (Archives 1980; 37:327-328). We recently saw a 71year-old addict who suffered from ballism associated with methadone withdrawal. Since World War II he had continuously taken about 25 mg of methadone hydrochloride daily and for nearly half a year carbromal (2,400 mg daily) and diphenhydramine hydrochloride (100 mg daily) additionally. By reducing the drug dose because of nausea and vomiting, typical withdrawal symptoms and involuntary movements appeared, which increased by further reduction of the drugs. He showed the striking feature of ballism with involuntary flashlike or hurling movements of all limbs and the trunk, which were triggered by sensory stimuli, emotion, and intention. Further examination revealed slight leukocytosis (11,100/μL) and some moderate abnormalities including hypochromic anemia (hemoglobin level, 10.7 g/dL) with iron deficit (serum level, 7.3 μmole/L) and increase of γ-glutamyl transferase (44 units/L) and alkaline phosphatase

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
Add or change institution