piracetam in patients with myoclonus

Clinical trial of piracetam in patients with myoclonus: nationwide multiinstitution study in Japan. The Myoclonus/Piracetam Study Group.

Ikeda A, Shibasaki H, Tashiro K, Mizuno Y, Kimura J.

Department of Brain Pathophysiology,
Kyoto University School of Medicine, Japan.
Mov Disord 1996 Nov;11(6):691-700


Sixty patients with disabling myoclonus excluding mainly spinal myoclonus were treated by piracetam as an open-labeled study, and myoclonus score, neurological symptoms, functional disability, and intensity of myoclonus were scored before and after treatment, including a blinded video inspection. Electrophysiological correlation also was investigated before and after treatment. Piracetam was effective in myoclonus, especially that of cortical origin, in both monotherapy and polytherapy. Piracetam also had positive benefits on gait ataxia and convulsions but not on dysarthria, and feeding and hand writing improved much more significantly. Psychologically significant improvement was seen in decreased motivation, sleep disturbance, attention deficit, and depression, all of which might be possibly secondary benefits associated with improvement of myoclonus. There was no positive correlation between clinical and electrophysiological improvement. Tolerance was good, and side effects were transient. However, hematological abnormalities observed in at least two patients in the present study should be kept in mind when relatively large doses of piracetam are administered, especially in combination with other anti-myoclonic drugs.