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Treating organic abulia with bromocriptine and lisuride: four case studies.
  1. K Barrett
  1. Department of Psychiatry, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Biological Science, Stoke on Trent, UK.


    Abulia refers to an impairment of will, or the inability to initiate behaviour and action. There are reports of successful treatment of akinetic mutism, the most severe form of abulia, with bromocriptine. Four case studies are presented describing the successful treatment of abulia at a lesser severity than akinetic mutism with bromocriptine. Abulia was caused by brain damage due to alcohol in two cases, Wilson's disease and basal ganglia infarct in one each. Maximum bromocriptine dose varied from 25-70 mg. All improved considerably. Withdrawal or reduction of medication in three produced deterioration. The prescription of a neuroleptic drug had a similar effect in the fourth. One patient with a previous history developed a depressive relapse and so the drug was withdrawn and lisuride introduced. This produced a similar improvement. These cases highlight the value of identifying the syndrome of organic abulia and suggest that dopamine agonists may have a place in its treatment, though controlled studies are needed.

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