Indexed on: 12 Sep '98Published on: 12 Sep '98Published in: The American journal of psychiatry
This study investigated the rate of spontaneous abnormal involuntary movements in a group of patients presenting with a first episode of schizophrenia or schizophreniform psychosis.Seventy-nine patients with a first episode of schizophrenia or schizophreniform psychosis who presented to a catchment area psychiatric service over a 3-year period, and who were neuroleptic-naive or had been medicated for less than 1 month, were examined for the presence of involuntary movements with use of the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale.Six patients (7.6%) had spontaneous dyskinesia as defined by the criteria of Schooler and Kane, and nine other patients had mild orofacial involuntary movements. The patients with spontaneous dyskinesia had completed significantly fewer years of education than the patients without dyskinesia. Spontaneous involuntary movements were unrelated to age at presentation for treatment.Spontaneous abnormal involuntary movements were evident among a proportion of patients with first-episode schizophrenia or schizophreniform psychosis at baseline presentation and were associated with reduced educational attainment. This finding supports previous suggestions that abnormal involuntary movements in schizophrenia may be related to the pathophysiology of the illness and therefore cannot be attributed entirely to the adverse effects of neuroleptic medication.