What is tardive dyskinesia?
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a disorder that involves involuntary movements. The movements most often affect the lower face. Tardive means delayed and dyskinesia means abnormal movement.
How common is tardive dyskinesia?
Up to 30 percent of people who take antipsychotic drugs long-term develop tardive dyskinesia. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia?
The common symptoms of tardive dyskinesia are:
- Facial grimacing
- Finger movement
- Jaw swinging
- Repetitive chewing
- Tongue thrusting
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes tardive dyskinesia?
TD is a serious side effect that occurs when you take medicines called neuroleptics. These drugs are also called antipsychotics or major tranquilizers. They are used to treat mental problems.
TD often occurs when you take the drug for many months or years. In some cases, it occurs after you take them for as little as 6 weeks.
Drugs that most commonly cause this disorder are older antipsychotics, including:
Newer antipsychotics seem less likely to cause TD, but they are not entirely without risk.
Other drugs that can cause TD include:
- Metoclopramide (treats stomach problem called gastroparesis)
- Antidepressant drugs such as amitriptyline, fluoxetine, phenelzine, sertraline, trazodone
- Antiparkinson drugs such as levodopa
- Antiseizure drugs such as phenobarbital and phenytoin
What increases my risk for tardive dyskinesia?
You’re more likely to get it if you:
- Are a woman who has gone through menopause
- Are over age 55
- Abuse alcohol or drugs
- Are African-American or Asian-American
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is tardive dyskinesia diagnosed?
TD can be hard to diagnose. Symptoms might not appear until months or years after you start taking antipsychotic medicine. Or you might first notice the movements after you’ve already stopped taking the drug. The timing can make it hard to know whether the medicine caused your symptoms.
If you take medicine for mental health conditions, your doctor should check you at least once a year to make sure you don’t have TD. He can give you a physical exam test called the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale.
He can also do tests to find out whether you have another disorder that causes abnormal movements, like:
- Cerebral palsy
- Huntington’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
To rule out these conditions, you may get:
- Blood tests
- Imaging scans of the brain, such as a CT or MRI scan
How is tardive dyskinesia treated?
The goal is to prevent TD. When your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat a mental health disorder, ask about its side effects. The benefits of the drug should outweigh the risks.
If you have movement problems, tell your doctor but don’t stop taking the drug on your own. Your doctor can take you off the medicine that caused the movements, or lower the dose.
You might need to switch to a newer antipsychotic drug that may be less likely to cause TD.
There are two FDA-approved medicines to treat tardive dyskinesia:
- Valbenazine (Ingrezza)
- Deutetrabenazine (Austedo)
Both of these medicines work in similar ways to regulate the amount of dopamine flow in brain areas that control certain kinds of movements. Both of these medicines can sometimes cause drowsiness. Austedo also has been shown to sometimes cause depression when used in patients with Huntington’s Disease.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage tardive dyskinesia?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with tardive dyskinesia:
There’s no proof that natural remedies can treat it, but some might help with movements:
- Ginkgo biloba
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
Talk to your doctor before you take any supplements for your symptoms.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Tardive dyskinesia. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000685.htm. Accessed December 31, 2017.
What Is Tardive Dyskinesia? https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/tardive-dyskinesia#3. Accessed December 31, 2017.
Review Date: January 4, 2018 | Last Modified: January 4, 2018