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Drug-induced Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-like syndrome: early CSF analysis as useful tool for differential diagnosis


We report the case of a 78-year-old man who showed a subacute onset of severe cognitive impairment, ataxia, tremor, stimulus sensitive myoclonus and hypophonia. Since a few weeks, he received a treatment with a combination of tricyclic antidepressants for mood disorder. The clinical picture mimicked Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but we could rule out this diagnosis by means of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, which showed normal level of tau protein and Aβ1-42, being also negative for CSF 14-3-3 protein. A complete clinical recovery was observed after the discontinuation of antidepressants. So far, some cases of drug-induced CJD-like syndrome have been described. In our experience, early CSF analysis shows high diagnostic usefulness in order to exclude CJD.

  • variant creutzfeld-jakob disease
  • drugs: cns (not psychiatric)

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