The emerging role of clozapine in the treatment of movement disorders

Mov Disord. 1997 Jul;12(4):483-96. doi: 10.1002/mds.870120403.


Clozapine, the only commercially available atypical neuroleptic, is approved for the treatment of schizophrenic patients who are unresponsive to or intolerant of typical neuroleptics. It has an unusual pharmacologic profile compared with standard neuroleptics, and it follows that clinical response to this drug is also different. It has shattered the notion that a drug must be capable of inducing or worsening parkinsonism to be a potent antipsychotic. Based on these findings, it is being used increasingly by neurologists for psychiatric and nonpsychiatric problems in patients with movement disorders. The most common use for clozapine among neurologists is in the management of drug-induced psychosis in Parkinson's disease (PD). This problem has been a source of increased morbidity and mortality in PD because of a lack of adequate therapeutic intervention. At this time, because of success in numerous open trials, with improvement of > 80% of patients, clozapine therapy for psychosis in PD is becoming the standard of care. It also appears to be of value in the management of some motor features of PD, including tremors and dyskinesia and possibly even sensory symptoms such as akathisia and pain. The literature also suggests that clozapine may be of potential benefit in hyperkinetic movement disorders including essential tremor, Huntington's disease, and tardive dyskinesia. We review the current data concerning the use of clozapine in patients with these movement disorders and others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clozapine / therapeutic use*
  • Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / drug therapy
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Tremor / drug therapy


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Clozapine