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Torticollis (wryneck, cervical dystonia) is a neurologic movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in the neck. Often, neuroleptics can cause such a side effect. I'm wondering if this condition could also be part of the side-effect profile of tricyclic antidepressants, like amitriptyline.

Some potential indications:

  • Often the basal ganglia are associated with neurological conditions such as movement disorders. -> Do amitriptylines effect the basal ganglia?
  • Dressler and Benecke claim that "Of all patients treated with neuroleptics approximately 2 to 3% develop acute dystonic reactions within days of therapy initiation .When highly potent neuroleptics are used this rate may increase to over 50 %.Young men are at a particularly high risk. Cranial, pharyngeal, cervical and axial muscles are most commonly affected causing oculogyric crisis, grimacing, fixation of the jaw, retrocollis, torticollis or even opisthotonic posturing." -> Do tricyclic antidepressants operate similar to neuroleptics?
  • Geyer and Bressman claim that dystonia can be caused by certain drugs: "In addition to inherited forms of secondary dystonia (dystonia-plus syndromes and neurodegenerative diseases), a variety of acquired insults can cause secondary dystonia in previously unaffected individuals. Many cases are iatrogenic, resulting from drugs that block dopamine receptors; antipsychotic and antiemetic drugs are the most common culprits." -> even though amitriptyline doesn't seem to block dopamine, maybe there is some kind of connection?
  • Tricyclic antidepressants sometimes seem to be used to treat torticollis, so is the reverse effect of causing the condition also thinkable?
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I'm not sure your question is allowed, and if it is, I'm not positive you'll get an answer. This sounds dangerously close to medical advice regarding possible side-effects, which only a trained physician or medical professional should give you. If you're curious about a specific mechanism of amitriptylines, then please specify. Otherwise, I suggest you take it up with your local M.D./D.O. –  MCM Sep 9 '12 at 23:07
I can assure you that this I'm not seeking for medical advice by posting this question. I'm not sure either if I will get an answer here, but I didn't know a better place to ask for now. I have considered emailing the authors of the cited papers, but I think I'll try that a bit later. –  Harold Sep 9 '12 at 23:16
Btw. if someone upvoted the question once more I could fix the links (only two links are allowed under 10 reputation). –  Harold Sep 9 '12 at 23:20
I fixed the links for you and tried to rework the question a bit to make it more objective rather than advice-seeking. See if it still carries the original meaning. –  jonsca Sep 10 '12 at 3:45
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