Treatment strategies for dystonia

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Jan;11(1):5-15. doi: 10.1517/14656560903426171.


Importance of the field: Dystonia is a neurological syndrome characterized by involuntary twisting movements and unnatural postures. It has many different manifestations and causes, and many different treatment options are available. These options include physical and occupational therapy, oral medications, intramuscular injection of botulinum toxins, and neurosurgical interventions.

Areas covered in this review: In this review, we first summarize the treatment options available, then we provide suggestions from our own experience for how these can be applied in different types of dystonia. In preparing this review article, an extensive literature search was undertaken using PubMed. Only selected references from 1970 to 2008 are cited.

What the reader will gain: This review is intended to provide the clinician with a practical guide to the treatment of dystonia.

Take home message: Treatment of dystonia begins with proper diagnosis and classification, followed by an appropriate search for underlying etiology, and an assessment of the functional impairment associated with the dystonia. The therapeutic approach, which is usually limited to symptomatic therapy, must then be tailored to the individual needs of the patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins / therapeutic use*
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dopamine Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Dyskinesias / drug therapy*
  • Dystonia / drug therapy
  • Dystonia / therapy*
  • Dystonic Disorders / therapy
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular


  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Botulinum Toxins
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A