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NINDS Tardive Dyskinesia Information Page


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What is Tardive Dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological syndrome caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs. Neuroleptic drugs are generally prescribed for psychiatric disorders, as well as for some gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements. Features of the disorder may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur. Involuntary movements of the fingers may be present.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment is highly individualized. The first step is generally to stop or minimize the use of the neuroleptic drug, but this can be done only under close supervision of the physician.. However, for patients with a severe underlying condition this may not be a feasible option. Replacing the neuroleptic drug with substitute drugs may help some individuals. The only approved drug treatment for tardive dyskenesia is tetrabenazine, which is usually effective but can have side effects that need to be discussed prior to starting therapy. Other drugs such as benzodiazepines, clozapine, or botulinum toxin injections also may be tried.

What is the prognosis?

Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia may remain long after discontinuation of neuroleptic drugs.  In many cases, the symptoms stop spontaneously, but in some cases they may persist indefinitely.

What research is being done?

The NINDS conducts and supports a broad range of research on movement disorders including tardive dyskinesia. The goals of this research are to improve understanding of these disorders and to discover ways to treat, prevent, and, ultimately, cure them.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Tardive Dyskinesia Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD   20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-443-4279

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291



Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated April 18, 2014