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Case report
Involuntary movements in an adolescent: what are the causes?
  1. Ana Sofia Vaz1,2,
  2. Nádia Brito2,
  3. Lurdes Moura2 and
  4. Agostinho Fernandes2
  1. 1 Pediatric Department, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra EPE, Coimbra, Portugal
  2. 2 Pediatric Department, Hospital Distrital da Figueira da Foz, Figueira da Foz, Coimbra, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ana Sofia Vaz; anasgvaz{at}


Involuntary movements can be a troublesome condition and represent a real challenge for emergency doctors, particularly for patients of paediatric age. We report a case of a 17-year-old boy with painful involuntary movements mostly affecting his mouth and lower limbs, but also the trunk. After reviewing the patient’s history, it was revealed that the adolescent had had acute alcohol intoxication with severe acute agitation and therefore was given a single dose of 10 mg intravenous haloperidol. The concealment of the recent event posed serious difficulties in reaching the diagnosis. When the diagnosis of haloperidol-induced acute dystonia was made, 3 mg of intravenous biperiden was promptly administered with complete clinical resolution in 15 min.

  • paediatrics
  • unwanted effects/adverse reactions

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  • Contributors ASV and NB were responsible for the patient’s diagnosis and management. ASV drafted the manuscript. NB made significant contributions to the content of the manuscript. LM and AF were involved in critically reviewing the data.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.