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    You are here : Home » About MS » Symptoms » Myoclonus


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    MyoclonusWhat is Myoclonus?

    Myoclonus comes from the Greek - "Myo" meaning "muscle" and "Clonus" meaning "tumult", and describes the sudden and uncontrollable shock-like movements or "jerks" of a muscle or a group of muscles.

    There are two seperate movements in Myoclonus, "Positive", resulting in contraction of a muscle, or muscles, and "Negative", where there is a brief loss of muscle tone and then the contraction of other muscles.

    Myoclonus can occur infrequently or very often and can range from a minor inconvenience to major disabling symptoms which can make walking and other activities very difficult.

    Everybody experiences some minor myoclonal jerks, such as hiccoughs and "twitching" when falling asleep. However, myoclonal episodes associated with neurological conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis tend to be of a more severe nature in many cases.

    One of the more common myoclonal occurances in MS is Nocturnal Myoclonus, more commonly known as "Restless Leg Syndrome".

    Treating Myoclonus

    Treatment of Myoclonus is focused on helping to reduce the symptoms. The most common drug used as a first choice treatment is usually Clonazepam, a tranquiliser, doses of which are increased very gradually until the Myoclonal symptoms are suppressed. Unfortunately, the useful effects of Clonazepam may, in some patients, diminish with time if the patient develops a drug tolerance.

    Other drugs are also used in the treatment of Myoclonus, including Phenytoin, Piracetam, Sodium Valporate and several anti-epilepsy drugs.

    Because of the complexities of Myoclonus it may prove necessary to use more than one drug to provide an effective treatment, and a neurologist may combine several drugs together to bring the Myoclonus under complete control.

    Further Information

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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