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April 1995

Diphenhydramine Is Effective in the Treatment of Idiopathic Dystonia

Author Affiliations

From the Parkinson and Movement Disorders Program, Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine.

Arch Neurol. 1995;52(4):405-407. doi:10.1001/archneur.1995.00540280095022

Objective:  To assess the effectiveness of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl) in the treatment of patients with idiopathic truncal dystonia.

Design:  Before-and-after trial.

Setting:  University referral center.

Patients:  Five consecutive patients with idiopathic truncal dystonia who were poorly treated with conventional pharmacotherapies. No patients were withdrawn from the trial for adverse side effects.

Interventions:  Treatments with diphenhydramine hydrochloride (50 mg intravenously or up to 500 mg/kg orally). Follow-up for up to 20 months.

Main Outcome Measure:  Dystonia evaluation.

Results:  Diphenhydramine therapy was associated with minimal side effects, and it was most effective in treating patients with dystonia who experienced lightning jerks. Treatment with intravenous diphenhydramine may have a predictive value on a future response to oral therapy.

Conclusion:  Diphenhydramine should be considered a therapeutic option for idiopathic truncal dystonia with lightning jerks.

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