Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Alcohol Responsiveness Predictors in Dystonia

Neurology; ePub 2018 Oct 19; Junker, et al

The association of alcohol responsiveness with a positive family history for movement disorders, generalized dystonia, and an earlier age at onset suggests that patients with dystonia who have an underlying genetic contribution may be more likely to respond beneficially to alcohol. This according to a recent study that aimed to determine predictors of alcohol responsiveness in a large cohort of patients with dystonia. A total of 2,159 participants with dystonia were prospectively enrolled in the cross-sectional Dystonia Coalition multicenter study. Patients with secondary, combined, or confirmed genetic dystonia (n=164) or unknown alcohol responsiveness (n=737) were excluded. Researchers found:

  • 1,258 patients with isolated dystonia (mean age: 59.5 ± 12.2 years; 898 women) met the inclusion criteria; 369 patients (29.3%) reported improvement of dystonia after alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol responsiveness was not related to sex, age, or severity of dystonia.
  • Age at onset was lower in patients who responded to alcohol.
  • Alcohol responsiveness differed across dystonia subgroups (multifocal/generalized > segmental; cervical and laryngeal >cranial and limb) and was related to a positive family history of movement disorders, and presence of tremor.


Junker J, Brandt V, Berman BD, et al. Predictors of alcohol responsiveness in dystonia. [Published online ahead of print October 19, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000006551.