Instrumental tremorgrams have been used to improve the diagnostic accuracy of various movement disorders, including tardive akathisia. The aim of the present work was to evaluate their place in the diagnosis of neuroleptic-induced tremor and to determine whether they can help to differentiate this disorder from other neuroleptic-induced movement disorders and from other types of tremor. Fourteen psychiatric patients treated with various neuroleptic medications were diagnosed as having neuroleptic-induced tremor on the basis of clinical criteria. They underwent accelerometric recordings following diagnosis. All patients demonstrated upper-limb tremor; four also had involvement of the lower limbs, jaw or tongue. Most demonstrated both resting and postural tremor, the latter being the more prominent. The tremor was mainly rhythmic, regular and sinusoidal. It did not significantly interfere with activities of daily living in the majority of patients, but four did exhibit some degree of impairment. Repeated accelerometric recordings showed constant and regular waveforms and frequencies (between 4 and 7 Hz) in each patient. We conclude that the presence of repeated constant waveforms and frequencies on accelerometric tracings may serve as confirmation of the diagnosis of neuroleptic-induced tremor. In light of the findings of this and other studies, we suggest that tremorgrams may be helpful in differentiating neuroleptic-induced tremor from other neuroleptic-induced movement disorders (e.g., tardive dyskinesia and tardive akathisia) and from psychogenic tremor. Although these techniques may also assist in the differentiation of neuroleptic-induced tremor from some tremor disorders (e.g., asterixis or ataxic tremor), their overall potential to distinguish it from other types of organic tremor is more limited.
- Accelerometric recordings