Treatment options for epileptic myoclonus and epilepsy syndromes associated with myoclonus

Danielle M. Andrade, Clement Hamani, Berge A. Minassian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Myoclonus is a brief shock-like movement that has many different etiologies. The degree to which it disturbs quality of life is extremely variable, as is its response to treatment. Objective: In this review, we focus on the treatment strategies for epileptic myoclonus in some common disorders, and in others that are not so common but where myoclonus is a prominent feature and has been studied more. Methods: An extended literature review in the English language was conducted through PubMed and text books. Conclusion: Epileptic myoclonus is a manifestation of cortical irritability. The precise etiology is important when determining the best course of treatment. Response to treatment is variable and usually depends on the epileptic syndrome. Some antiepileptic drugs may worsen myoclonus even in patients with syndromes where most patients have a good response to that same drug. Therefore, clinicians must always have in mind that worsening in myoclonus may be ameliorated by decrease or withdrawal rather than increase of medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1549-1560
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Myoclonic seizures
  • Myoclonus
  • Progressive myoclonus epilepsy
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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