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Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS)

Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) is a term used to describe what happens with some children who have symptoms of certain disorders that get worse following infections such as strep throat or scarlet fever. The disorders whose symptoms get worse include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorders such as Tourette's disorder.

PANDAS may trigger symptoms of OCD or tics, or it may make them get suddenly worse. Other symptoms may include:

  • Being hyperactive or fidgety.
  • Having trouble being in a different room from his or her parents or being clingy (separation anxiety).
  • Being irritable, sad, or having other mood changes.
  • Not being able to sleep.
  • Wetting the bed at night or having to urinate often during the day.
  • Changes in handwriting.
  • Pain in joints.

Treatments for children with PANDAS are the same as used for symptoms of OCD or tic disorders. This includes cognitive-behavioral therapy or medicines or a combination of both. Treatment may also include immunotherapy like IVIG or plasma exchange. Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the body's own immune system to treat an illness. You and your doctor can decide which treatments are best for your child.

Last Revised: July 22, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

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