Introduction Neuropharmacology of Movement Disorders

Comparison of Spontaneous and Drug-Induced Movement Disorders
  • Stephen M. Stahl


Disorders of voluntary movement are common neurological problems that have unusual importance to both clinician and scientist. Movement disorders are important to the clinician because they are generally among the most treatable neuropsychiatric disorders, yet are also among the most frequent iatrogenic complications of drug therapies. Thus, the clinician is in a powerful position both to create and to alleviate movement disorders. Proper understanding of these conditions will help the clinician distinguish spontaneously occurring diseases from the ones he creates with drugs. Proper understanding of neuro-pharmacology will help the clinician to use drug treatments to alleviate movement disorders while avoiding or reducing complications from improper drug usage. For the neuroscientist, movement disorders represent simultaneously the greatest triumphs as well as the greatest failures of basic brain research. The triumphs include the first breakthroughs in applications of neurotransmitter mechanisms to neuronal functioning. Knowledge of basal ganglia anatomy, biochemistry, and pharmacology has led, for example, to the development of treatments for Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, the failures include the production of unwanted movement disorders by numerous drugs, including the irreversible and disabling disease tardive dyskinesia. Understanding these lessons, both good and bad, from the field of movement disorders puts the basic scientist in a strong position to develop future treatments for other disorders of the human central nervous system.


Movement Disorder Essential Tremor Tardive Dyskinesia Tourette Syndrome Generalize Dystonia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen M. Stahl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.VA-Stanford Mental Health Clinical Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology, Schizophrenia Biologic Research CenterVeterans Administration Medical CenterPalo AltoUSA

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