Definitions

Oculogyric crisis

Oculogyric crisis

Oculogyric crisis (OGC) is the name of a dystonic reaction to certain drugs and/or medical conditions. The term "Oculogyric" refers to rotating of eyeballs, but several other responses are associated with the crisis.

Causes

Drugs that can trigger an oculogyric crisis include neuroleptics, amantadine, benzodiazepines, carbamazepine, chloroquine, cisplatin, diazoxide, influenza vaccine, levodopa, lithium, metoclopramide, domperidone, nifedipine, pemoline, phencyclidine, reserpine, and tricyclics.

Other causes can include postencephalitic Parkinson's, Tourette's syndrome, multiple sclerosis, neurosyphilis, head trauma, bilateral thalamic infarction, lesions of the fourth ventricle, cystic glioma of the third ventricle, herpes encephalitis, and juvenile Parkinson's.

Symptoms and signs

Initial symptoms include incredible restlessness, agitation, malaise, or a fixed stare. Then comes the more characteristically described extreme and sustained upward deviation of the eyes. In addition, the eyes may converge, deviate upward and laterally, or deviate downward. The most frequently reported associated findings are backwards and lateral flexion of the neck, widely opened mouth, tongue protrusion, and ocular pain. However it may also be associated with intensely painful jaw spasm which may result in the breaking of a tooth. A wave of exhaustion may follow an episode. The abrupt termination of the psychiatric symptoms at the conclusion of the crisis is most striking.

Other features that are noted during attacks include mutism, palilalia, eye blinking, lacrimation, pupil dilation, drooling, respiratory dyskinesia, increased blood pressure and heart rate, facial flushing, headache, vertigo, anxiety, agitation, compulsive thinking, paranoia, depression, recurrent fixed ideas, depersonalization, violence, and obscene language.

It is often not realized that in addition to the acute presentation, OGC can develop as a recurrent syndrome, triggered by stress, and exposure to the above drugs.

Treatment

Immediate treatment of drug induced OGC can be achieved with intravenous antimuscarinic benztropine or procyclidine; which usually are effective within 5 minutes, although may take as long as 30 minutes for full effect. Further doses of procyclidine may be needed after 20 minutes. Any causative new medication should be discontinued. Also can be treated with 25 mg diphenhydramine (Benadryl).

References

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