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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G25.5
ICD-9 333.5
DiseasesDB 16662
eMedicine neuro/62
MeSH D002819

Chorea (or choreia, occasionally) is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, one of a group of neurological disorders called dyskinesias. The term chorea is derived from the Greek word χορεία (=dance; see choreia), as the quick movements of the feet or hands are comparable to dancing.

The term hemichorea refers to chorea of one side of the body, such as chorea of one arm but not both (comparable to hemiballismus).


Chorea is characterized by brief, semi-directed, irregular movements that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next.

These 'dance-like' movements of chorea often occur with athetosis, which adds twisting and writhing movements. Walking may become difficult, and include odd postures and leg movements.

Unlike ataxia, which affects the quality of voluntary movements, or Parkinsonism, which is a hindrance of voluntary movements, the movements of chorea and ballism occur on their own, without conscious effort. Thus, chorea is said to be a hyperkinetic movement disorder.

When chorea is serious, slight movements will become thrashing motions; this form of severe chorea is referred to as ballism or ballismus.


Chorea can occur in a variety of conditions and disorders.


There is no standard course of treatment for chorea. Treatment depends on the type of chorea and the associated disease. Although there are many drugs that can control it, no cure has yet been identified.

Form Treatment
Huntington's-related A common treatment is dopaminergic antagonists, although treatment is largely supportive. Tetrabenazine is the only FDA approved drug for the treatment of Huntington's Disease related chorea.
Sydenham's chorea Haloperidol, carbamazepine and valproic acid. Usually involves antibiotic drugs to treat the infection, followed by drug therapy to prevent recurrence.
Chorea gravidarum haloperidol,[1][2][3] chlorpromazine alone or in combination with diazepam, also pimozide can also be used.
Wilson's disease Reducing levels of copper in the body using D-penicillinamine, trientine hydrochloride, tetrathiomolybdate, and other chelating agents
Drug-induced chorea Adjusting medication dosages.
Metabolic and endocrine-related choreas Treated according to their causes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Axley J (December 1972). "Rheumatic choreia controlled with haloperidol". The Journal of Pediatrics 81 (6): 1216–7. doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(72)80272-5. PMID 4643046. 
  2. ^ Patterson JF (September 1979). "Treatment of choreia gravidarum with haloperidol". Southern Medical Journal 72 (9): 1220–1. doi:10.1097/00007611-197909000-00044. PMID 472859. 
  3. ^ Donaldson JO (March 1982). "Control of choreia gravidarum with haloperidol". Obstetrics and Gynecology 59 (3): 381–2. PMID 7078886.