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Health Condition

Tardive Dyskinesia

About This Condition

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) is a condition of abnormal, repetitive, uncontrollable movements that develop after a long-term use of so-called antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders. The term “tardive” (which means “late”) is used because the condition appears only after long-term use of these drugs, which include chlorpromazine (Thorazine), thioridazine (Mellaril), and trifluoperazine (Stelazine). Dyskinesia means “abnormal movement.”

The uncontrollable movements of TD can interfere greatly with a person’s quality of life. TD may gradually diminish in severity after the medication is discontinued, but all too often the problem is permanent, persisting after withdrawal from the drugs that caused the condition. Conventional treatment for TD is unsatisfactory, so prevention is considered crucial. It is important that people requiring antipsychotic drugs be given the lowest effective dose and that treatment be discontinued as soon as it is feasible.

Symptoms

Symptoms of TD include repetitive and involuntary movements (tics), most often of the facial muscles and tongue (such as lip smacking), although any muscle in the body can be affected (e.g., moving legs back and forth). Symptoms may be mild or severe and can interfere with eating and walking.

Other Therapies

Electroconvulsive therapy (electrical current applied to the brain) may be administered in severe cases. Healthcare providers may recommend discontinuing the use of antipsychotic drugs if possible.

References

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11. Davis KL, Hollister LE, Barchas JD, Berger PA. Choline in tardive dyskinesia and Huntington's disease: preliminary results from a pilot study. Life Sci 1976;19:1507-15.

12. Gelenberg AJ, Doller-Wojcik JC, Growdon JH. Choline and lecithin in the treatment of tardive dyskinesia: preliminary results from a pilot study. Am J Psychiatry 1979;136:772-6.

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15. Anderson BG, Reker D, Ristich M, et al. Lecithin treatment of tardive dyskinesia—a progress report. Psychopharmacol Bull 1982;18:87-8.

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17. Kunin RA. Manganese in dyskinesias. Am J Psychiatry 1976;133:105.

18. Norris JP, Sams RE. More on the use of manganese in dyskinesia. Am J Psychiatry 1997;134:1448.

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20. Shamir E, Barak Y, Shalman I, et al. Melatonin treatment for tardive dyskinesia. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001;58:1049-52.

21. Richardson MA, Bevans ML, Weber JB, et al. Branched chain amino acids decrease tardive dyskinesia symptoms. Psychopharmacology 1999;143:358-64.

22. Casey DE, Denney D. Dimethylaminoethanol in tardive dyskinesia. N Engl J Med 1974;291:797 [letter].

23. Soares, KV, McGrath JJ. The treatment of tardive dyskinesia-a systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophr Res 1999;39:1-16 [review].

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

Drugs used to treat TARDIVE DYSKINESIA. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing