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Rabbit syndrome

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Rabbit syndrome is a rare[1] form of extrapyramidal side effect of antipsychotic drugs in which perioral tremors occur at a rate of 5 Hz. Rabbit syndrome is characterized by involuntary, fine, rhythmic motions of the mouth along a vertical plane, without involvement of the tongue.[2][3] It is usually seen after years of pharmacotherapy, and is more prominent with high potency drugs like haloperidol, fluphenazine, and pimozide. There is also a low incidence with thioridazine, clozapine, olanzapine, aripiprazole,[4] and low doses of risperidone.

Rabbit syndrome can be treated with anticholinergic drugs. It generally disappears within a few days of treatment but may re-emerge after anticholinergic treatment is stopped. Another treatment strategy is to switch the patient to an atypical antipsychotic with high anti-cholinergic properties.[3]


  1. Yassa R, Lal S (May 1986). Prevalence of the rabbit syndrome. Am J Psychiatry 143 (5): 656–7.
  2. Villeneuve A (1972). The rabbit syndrome. A peculiar extrapyramidal reaction. Can Psychiatr Assoc J 17 (2): Suppl 2:SS69–.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Catena Dell'osso M, Fagiolini A, Ducci F, Masalehdan A, Ciapparelli A, Frank E (2007). Newer antipsychotics and the rabbit syndrome. Clin Pract Epidemol Ment Health 3: 6.
  4. Gonidakis F, Ploubidis D, Papadimitriou G (August 2008). Aripiprazole-induced rabbit syndrome in a drug-naive schizophrenic patient. Schizophr. Res. 103 (1–3): 341–2.

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