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Q. What can cause sudden jerks when under medication for Alzheimer's?

Answered by
Dr. Ashok Kumar Choudhary
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 17, 2017

Hello doctor,

My mother aged 85 years is taking drugs for Alzheimer's for over six months. She suffered sudden jerks of hands and legs. She was admitted to the ICU and is now shifted to a room. She was treated with antibiotics and given sedation drugs. Will the jerks come back? She is taking medicines for diabetes and thyroid as well.

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I read your query and understand your concerns.

  • Although it is not clear whether she suffered myoclonic jerks or seizure episodes (jerks along with a loss of consciousness, frothing at the mouth, unrolling of eyes) as both of them can present in late Alzheimer's disease.
  • However, I feel that there are two possibilities for their occurrence.
  1. The first, as I suggested above are the manifestations of advanced Alzheimer's disease. As per the available data, about 25 % of the patients with Alzheimer's disease develop seizures, and many of them continue to have recurrences rest of their life. In such cases, antiepileptic medications are the mainstay of the treatment.
  2. The second possibility is a thalamic infarct. It is possible that recently she developed a thalamic infarct leading to the development of jerks. In this situation, if the infarct is very tiny and insignificant we may expect that there will be no further jerky episodes.
  • However, considering the advanced age, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, I feel that continuing medications to prevent the jerks is a safer option than withdrawing them all together.

I hope this helps you. Feel free to write back to me if you have more questions.

For more information consult a neurologist online --> https://icliniq.com./ask-a-doctor-online/neurologist


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