Juvenile Huntington disease exacerbated by methylphenidate: Case report

Jeff L. Waugh, Van S. Miller, Robert S. Chudnow, Michael Morgan Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The authors describe the case of an 8-year-old boy, otherwise healthy, who presented with symptoms consistent with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and was started on a trial of methylphenidate. Within 4 weeks, he experienced a rapid decline in fine motor skills, with dysarthria, intention tremor, motor impersistence, and diffusely increased tone. Symptoms persisted despite cessation of methylphenidate. At that time, a paternal history of Huntington disease was disclosed. Molecular analysis revealed an expansion in CAG repeats to 75 copies, within the range characteristic of juvenile Huntington disease. This report raises the possibility that use of dopaminergic agonists in patients with a family history of Huntington disease may lead to clinical exacerbation of motor symptoms and/or unwitting diagnosis in an unprepared family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-809
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Attention deficit
  • Basal ganglia
  • Huntington disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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