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J Neurol Sci. 1994 Dec 1;127(1):114-20.

Persistent neuroleptic-induced rigidity and dystonia in AIDS dementia complex: a clinico-pathological case report.

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Albany Medical College, Department of Neurology, New York 12208.


Patients with AIDS dementia complex (ADC) appear to have an increased likelihood of developing acute onset parkinsonism and dystonia when treated with dopamine antagonists. It has been hypothesized, based on clinical evidence, that hypersensitivity to these drugs in ADC is probably related to direct invasion of the basal ganglia by the HIV virus and a secondary alteration in dopaminergic mechanisms. We report the first pathological description of a patient with ADC who developed acute onset, generalized rigidity and dystonia after a brief trial of low dose neuroleptic therapy administered for psychotic symptoms. An unusual clinical feature of this case was the persistence of his movement disorder. Pathological examination revealed a generalized encephalitic process with substantial neuronal loss observed primarily in the medial and lateral globus pallidus. Correlation with a current model of basal ganglia pathophysiology and other disorders with pallidal lesions is discussed. Clinical and pathological features of this case confirm the previous contention and indicate that dopamine antagonists should be utilized with extreme caution in patients with ADC.

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