Epidemiologic studies indicate that nearly 60% of schizophrenia (SZ) patients treated with conventional antipsychotic drugs develop extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) such as parkinsonism and tardive dyskinesia. Although the prevalence of EPS has decreased due to the newer antipsychotics, EPS continue to limit the effectiveness of these medicines. Ongoing monitoring of EPS is likely to improve treatment outcome or compliance and reduce the frequency of re-hospitalization. A quantitative analysis of handwriting kinematics was used to evaluate effects of antipsychotic medication type and dose in schizophrenia patients. Twenty-seven schizophrenia patients treated with risperidone, six schizophrenia patients who received no antipsychotic medication and 47 healthy comparison participants were enrolled. Participants performed a 20-min handwriting task consisting of loops of various sizes and a sentence. Data were captured and analyzed using MovAlyzeR software. Results indicated that risperidone-treated participants exhibited significantly more dysfluent handwriting movements than either healthy or untreated SZ participants. Risperidone-treated participants exhibited lower movement velocities during production of simple loops compared to unmedicated patients. Handwriting dysfluency during sentence writing increased with dose. A 3-factor model consisting of kinematic variables derived from sentence writing accounted for 83% (r = .91) of the variability in medication dose. In contrast, we found no association between observer-based EPS severity ratings and medication dose. These findings support the importance of handwriting-based measures to monitor EPS in medicated schizophrenia patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology