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Measuring Motor Side Effects by Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, and Mood Stabilizers

Tempe - 1-Jun-2005 - New research at NeuroScript is focusing on the development of a valid and reliable handwriting procedure for detecting and managing drug-induced extrapyramidal side effects.  Psychotropic medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers cause motor side effects in a large proportion of individuals, yet there are no known tests for the early detection of motor change.  Motor side effects of these medications impact all aspects of society.  They contribute to non-adherence and worsening of the illness when the stops taking the prescribed medication because of intolerable side effects.  They increase the economic burden of the healthcare system when patients are re-hospitalized when they stop taking their medication or when the complaints of adverse side effects are significant to require medication change. 

Studies have shown that drug-induced motor side effects include changes in handwriting. Because handwriting involves the sequencing and organizing of a complex series of fine movements, these changes may represent the first sign of an adverse side effect.  Research in our laboratories using MovAlyzeR software and an inexpensive digitizing tablet indicates that a measure of pen movement kinematics during normal handwriting was highly sensitive to the presence of a drug-induced side effect.  Our goal is to develop a simple automated procedure for quantifying pen movement kinematics for use in clinical settings to provide key information to physicians and nursing staff about the present motor status of an individual at risk for medication-related side effects.  Armed with this information, a clinician can make informed decisions about medication management and more importantly, exercise measures to prevent the onset of debilitating side effects. MC.