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Parkinsonian Symptoms, Parkinsonism

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Updated June 08, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:
Parkinsonian symptoms can sometimes occur as side effects of certain medications that may be prescribed for bipolar disorder. When these symptoms are caused by a medication, the condition is called secondary parkinsonism. The symptoms include:
  • Tremor
  • Slow movement
  • Difficulty maintaining balance and walking
  • Stiff muscles
  • Soft voice
  • Decrease in facial expressions

Drugs that can cause parkinsonian symptoms include both typical and atypical antipsychotics. Rarely, lithium may also cause parkinsonism.

Secondary parkinsonism caused by antipsychotics is generally treated with prescription drugs, including Cogentin (benztropine) and Symmetrel (amantadine). A change in your bipolar medications may ultimately be required.

Sources:

Secondary Parkinsonism. Medline Plus. US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. 4 July 2009. 27 Feb 2010.

Parkinsonism. The Merck Manuals. Aug 2007. 27 Feb 2010.

Pronunciation: par-kin-SO-nee-un, PAR-kin-sun-iz-um

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