The paroxysmal dyskinesias are a challenging group of movement disorders characterised by painless dystonic and/or choreiform movements. Lack of familiarity with their features and a normal neurological examination between attacks frequently cause diagnostic delays, or even the diagnosis of a non-organic disorder. They are classified by their mode of triggering, and also by the duration and frequency of attacks, effectiveness of medication, and any associated syndromes. Four subtypes are recognised: paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia induced by sudden movement; paroxysmal non-kinesigenic dyskinesia precipitated by for instance alcohol or caffeine; paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesia triggered by longer lasting activity; and paroxysmal hypnogenic dyskinesia occurring during sleep. Here we will summarise the characteristics of the subtypes, discuss the differential diagnosis, genetic aspects and pathophysiology, and give practical advice on the diagnostic work-up and treatment.
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