The Canadian Movement Disorder Group


The Definition of Chorea

An irregular, unpredictable, random, jerky, movements that flow from one body part to another

or a complete inability to sustain a steady body position. Athetosis is slower than chorea. It is acceptable to use the term "choreoathetosis".

List of Causes

Inherited Degenerative Diseases

Huntington's Disease

Benign Familial Chorea


Toxins / Drugs

Birth Control Pill



Vascular Causes (Strokes)

Polycythemia (a disorder associated with too many red blood cells)

Hypertensive basal ganglia small strokes (Lacunes)

Vasculitis (inflamation of blood vessels (eg. Lupus)

Metabolic Disorders

Hyperthroidism (overactive thyroid)

Chorea Gravidarum (pregnancy induced chorea)

Chronic liver failure

Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar)

Inherited Metabolic Diseases

Wilson's Disease (an inherited abnormality of copper storage)

Paroxysmal (episodic)Choreoathetosis

Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Choreoathetosis (Episodic chorea induced by movement)

Paroxysmal Non-Kinesigenic Choreoathetosis  (Episodic chorea not induced by movement)


Sydenham's Chorea (associated with Rheumatic fever)





Treatment needs to proceed with caution. Frequently treatment settles  chorea but the functional status of the patient is worsened.

Medications Options:

A variety of medications can be used to help settle the movement  disorder including; Tetrabenazine, Reserpine, Trilafon (perphenazine), other Neuroleptics, and Haldol.

Chorea Resources