After DBS, I am getting violent myoclonus attack. Is it due to Clonazepam?

Q. After DBS, I am getting violent myoclonus attack. Is it due to Clonazepam?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 26, 2018 and last reviewed on: Aug 01, 2023

Hi doctor,

After deep brain stimulation surgery for generalized dystonia 18 months ago, I have developed mild startle myoclonus a fortnight later and was prescribed 0.5 mg Clonazepam. Since being on Clonazepam, I developed mild anxiety and my myoclonus continued to worsen. Now, I have violent full body jerks that cause me to fall over backwards every day. I am now on 1 mg Clonazepam in the morning and evening. After six months of Clonazepam and just after increasing my dose to 0.5 mg twice a day, I developed pressure of speech and the longer I have been on the drug the worse my myoclonus and anxiety has become. I am now in a vicious circle as the myoclonus episodes are so violent and I fall backwards heavily despite whatever I hold onto. I have become anxious at having an episode and the actual anxiety can trigger a myoclonus episode, although it also occurs when I feel safe such as sitting down, reading a book or chatting with friends. Six weeks ago, I was told to double the dose due to the high number of falls I was having during myoclonus episodes and since then I have developed mini-seizures and worsening of anxiety. My neurologist is referring me to a psychiatrist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and now believes anxiety is the likely cause of my myoclonus. I am happy to do this as I just want to overcome my fear of falling. My dystonia also is causing me to fall due to motor control problems with my legs. The behavior of my legs is very unpredictable, so without warning I regularly trip or my legs suddenly buckle, especially when tired or if I am on my feet for too long. Every drug I have been on since been diagnosed with dystonia has caused serious side effects, even at a low dose and I was told by one of the neurologists that my brain is very sensitive to the side effects of the drugs. The anxiety has only developed since being on the Clonazepam and seems to have worsened whenever the dose has been increased. Could Clonazepam cause anxiety? I have now lost my confidence to leave the house, even with my walker as during a myoclonus episode it is so vigorous the walker just tips over with me and I have episodes every day, but just do not know when one may occur. I have not walked as far as the end of my road about 100 meters for nearly five months now and even with friends still feel apprehensive when walking even a short distance with them. I have lost my confidence to stand in the kitchen to do chores in case I have an episode. I often crawl around on the floor, especially when tired as tiredness definitely increases the episodes and the higher dosage of Clonazepam makes me feel very tired by midday. I am also under stress at home as I am a carer of my 86 year old father who has Alzheimer's, although I get some support from social services with carers, who come in to get him up and his breakfast and then his evening meal. I am normally a very positive person, but right now I wonder if I will ever get better. I am keen to start CBT. But, I am still concerned that Clonazepam initiated the anxiety as a side effect and so would need to withdraw from the Clonazepam in order to recover properly. All I know for certain is I never had myoclonus before my deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. I never had anxiety or a single fall. Right now, I wish I never had DBS as it done little to help me physically and my quality of life right now is far worse. I am finding it hard to stay positive and feel very discouraged. Please help me.



Welcome to We are here to help you. Reading your complete details I understand your concern and pain. First of all I would say that Clonazepam does not increase anxiety. You might be having myoclonus following DBS as it is a known adverse effect of DBS (deep brain stimulation). Following DBS, there are people who have worsened symptoms. However, myoclonus and frequent fall could be a feature of your Parkinson's only and that has appeared now and you might be linking it to DBS. So, seeing all the possibilities my opinion would be to get your video EEG for 24 hours (electroencephalogram). 1. Here, we can record if any seizure activity is there in your brain simultaneously with your myoclonus episode recorded on video. 2. If there is myoclonus recorded on video with no evidence of any seizure activity in EEG video, we would attribute this to anxiety only whatever the cause is. 3. In that case, the best drug for you would be Lorazepam. I think this is the best idea that could help you with your confusions.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
Mirap and Clonazepam prescribed for anxiety and depression, Is it fine to take?

Age 40Y, Male, minor knee pain sometime ,TAK Tak Sound when sit on kness, no injury , Family Heridatory , suggest precaution in diet or medicine for future   Read full

Brain Stimulation Techniques in Psychiatry

Some common but negligible side effects include scalp discomfort and headache ...   Read full

Are Paxil and Crestor safe when taken together?

.. always a good idea to be sure. Paxil (Paroxetine) is a respected and very effective SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and commonly used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, etc.   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Neurologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.