Isaacs’ Syndrome


Isaacs’ syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that is caused by abnormal nerve impulses that produce involuntary muscle activity. The condition is rare, with less than 200 cases reported. Although Isaacs’ syndrome cannot be cured, the disease is generally not fatal. Individuals may be able to effectively manage symptoms of the disorder.


  • Contracting or twitching muscles
  • Cramping
  • Delayed ability to relax muscles, even during sleep
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle stiffness, especially in limb and trunk muscles
  • Problems with speech and breathing


Because Isaacs’ syndrome is either hereditary or acquired from another condition, it cannot be prevented.

Risk Factors

If you have a family member with Isaacs’ syndrome, you could be at greater risk for developing the condition. Some other risk factors could include certain malignancies, peripheral neuropathies and autoimmune disorders of the nervous system.


Your physician will evaluate for symptoms that could be linked to the disease and decide what further testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. Further testing may include imaging tests or an electromyography (EMG). During an EMG test, a small need is inserted into a muscle to record electrical activity and look at the health of the muscles.


Isaacs’ syndrome symptoms can be treated with the following:

Anticonvulsants. Your physician may prescribe phenytoin or carbamazepine — two types of medications that can relieve muscle spasms and stiffness.

Immunoglobulin infusions. This type of therapy delivers antibodies through an IV.

Plasma exchange. Plasma exchange could provide short-term relief for certain individuals with the disease. During this procedure, blood is taken from the body and separated to remove plasma. The blood is then returned to the body to be replaced with new plasma.

Follow-up Care

Your physician will closely monitor any drug therapies used to manage symptoms, as well as facilitate any follow-up visits.

Why Choose UK HealthCare for Neuromuscular Disorders?

If you or a loved one is living with a neuromuscular disorder, neuromuscular doctors with Kentucky Neuroscience Institute can offer the latest and most sophisticated care options. UK HealthCare’s ALS Multidisciplinary Clinic earned accreditation as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence from the ALS Association. This honor is awarded to facilities that demonstrate competency meeting the clinical care and treatment standards set forth by the ALS Association. These facilities must also take part in ALS research and a comprehensive site review.

Additionally, the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute is ranked 44th in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and our physicians are regularly named to the Best Doctors in America List.