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Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), also known as extrapyramidal side effects (EPSE) if drug-induced, are movement disorders, which include acute and long term symptoms. These symptoms include dystonia (continuous spasms and muscle contractions), akathisia (may manifest as motor restlessness),parkinsonism (characteristic symptoms such as rigidity), bradykinesia (slowness of movement), tremor, and tardive dyskinesia (irregular, jerky movements). Antipsychotics are often discontinued due to inefficacy and intolerable side effects such as extrapyramidal symptoms.
Since it is difficult to measure extrapyramidal symptoms, rating scales are commonly used to assess the severity of movement disorders. The Simpson-Angus Scale (SAS), Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale (BARS), Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS), and Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale (ESRS) are rating scales frequently used for such assessment and are not weighted for diagnostic purposes; these scales can help physicians weigh the benefit/expected benefit of a medication against the degree of distress which the side effects are causing the patient, aiding in the decision to maintain, reduce, or discontinue the causative medication/s.
The extrapyramidal system regulates posture and skeletal muscle tone. Extrapyramidal symptoms (also called extrapyramidal side effects) get their name because they are symptoms of disorders in this system.
Commonly used medications for EPS are anticholinergic agents such as Procyclidine, benztropine (Cogentin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and trihexyphenidyl (Artane). Another common course of treatment includes dopamine agonist agents such as pramipexole. These medications reverse the symptoms of extrapyramidal side effects caused by antipsychotics or other drugs that either directly or indirectly inhibit dopaminergic neurotransmission.
Studies are yet to be undertaken on the optimum dosage of the causative drugs to reduce their side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS)).
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^Michael J. Peluso; Shôn W. Lewis; Thomas R. E. Barnes; Peter B. Jones (2012). "Extrapyramidal motor side-effects of first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 200 (5): 387-92. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.111.101485. PMID22442101.