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Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1988 Nov;39(11):1172-7.

How to examine patients using the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655.


The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) examination has been widely recommended for periodic screening for tardive dyskinesia and follow-up of patients diagnosed with the disorder. However, few guidelines exist about how to use the examination in clinical practice. The authors discuss for whom, when, and how the AIMS examination can be used in a multidisciplinary setting; amplify the original instructions for the examination; and propose conventions to clarify scoring. Noting that the AIMS examination is not specific for tardive dyskinesia, they discuss a clinical approach to the patient who is found to have abnormal movements. The AIMS examination is best conducted within the context of an ongoing treatment program, the authors say, and should be part of the informed consent process necessary with patients treated with neuroleptic drugs.

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