A pilot tolerability and efficacy trial of sodium oxybate in ethanol-responsive movement disorders

Author(s): Frucht SJ, Bordelon Y, Houghton WH, Reardan D


Sodium oxybate is currently approved in the United States exclusively for the treatment of cataplexy in narcoleptic patients. In a prior article published in this journal, we reported a patient with severe posthypoxic myoclonus whose myoclonus improved with ethanol and also with treatment with sodium oxybate. We extend this preliminary observation to five other patients with ethanol-responsive movement disorders in an open-label, dose-titration, add-on, 8-week trial. All five patients (one with severe alcohol-responsive posthypoxic myoclonus, two with epsilon-sarcoglycan-linked myoclonus-dystonia, and two with essential tremor) experienced improvement from baseline of 50% or greater as measured by blinded videotape review. Tolerability was satisfactory, with dose-dependent sedation as the most common side effect. Further studies of this drug in hyperkinetic movement disorders are warranted.

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