Treatment of ballism and pseudobulbar affect with sertraline

Arch Neurol. 2001 Oct;58(10):1682-4. doi: 10.1001/archneur.58.10.1682.


Background: The pathogenesis of ballism is uncertain and may involve more than one mechanism; treatment is not always efficacious.

Objective: To provide evidence of a nondopaminergic mechanism and the potential for a prompt and nearly complete response to a serotonergic agent.

Methods: Report of 2 separate trials of sertraline hydrochloride in a single patient.

Results: Complete remission of symptoms within 48 hours of each drug trial.

Conclusion: Sertraline may offer an alternative with a better adverse effect profile than dopamine receptor blockers in the treatment of patients with ballism.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis
  • Dyskinesias / drug therapy*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sertraline