Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Dystonia can't be cured, but doctors can provide you with several treatments to improve some of your symptoms.


  • Botulinum toxin type A. Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injections into specific muscles may reduce or eliminate your muscle contractions and improve your abnormal postures. You'll need injections about every three months. You may experience mild side effects including neck weakness, dry mouth or voice changes.
  • Oral medications. Some forms of early-onset dystonia respond to levodopa and carbidopa (Parcopa, Sinemet) — a medication combination that increases brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved with muscle movement. Tetrabenazine (Xenazine), a drug to block dopamine, also may help some people with dystonia. You may experience side effects including sedation, nervousness, depression or insomnia.

Other medications, including trihexyphenidyl and benztropine, may improve your symptoms by acting on other neurotransmitters. These medications may cause side effects including memory loss, blurred vision, drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation.

Other medications that act on neurotransmitters, including diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), baclofen (Lioresal), may help some forms of dystonia. These medications may cause side effects, such as drowsiness.


  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy or other therapies may help improve your symptoms.
  • Speech therapy. If your voice is affected by dystonia, speech therapy may be helpful.
  • Sensory trick. A sensory trick, which involves touching your affected body part, such as your face, may help reduce your contractions.

Surgical procedures

  • Deep brain stimulation. In deep brain stimulation, surgeons implant electrodes into a specific part of your brain. The electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in your chest that sends electrical pulses to your brain and may help control your muscle contractions. Your doctor may adjust your settings as necessary to treat your condition. Your surgery may involve risks, including infections, stroke-like problems and speech difficulties.
  • Surgery. Surgery rarely may be an option to treat some types of dystonia which haven't been successfully treated using other therapies.
May 12, 2012