Tardive Dyskinesia

On this page

What is tardive dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder characterized by uncontrollable, abnormal, and repetitive movements of the face, torso, and/or other body parts.

TD is caused by prolonged use of treatments that block dopamine receptors in the brain, such as antipsychotics commonly prescribed to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, and certain anti-nausea medications. In individuals with TD, these treatments are thought to result in irregular dopamine signaling in a region of the brain that controls movement.

The symptoms of TD often can be persistent and potentially disabling. The uncontrollable movements may be disruptive to people's lives due to the symptoms themselves and the impact they have on emotional and social well-being.

Often physicians will try to stop or reduce/modify antipsychotic treatment; however, there is little evidence to support this practice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved valbenazine (Ingrezza) and deutetrabenazine (Austedo) as treatments for TD.

Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with tardive dyskinesia?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about TD and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with TD at Clinicaltrials.gov.

Where can I find more information about tardive dyskinesia?

Information may be available from the following resources:


National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Phone: 301-443-4513, 866-615-6464 or 866-415-8051

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
Phone: 203-744-0100 or 800-999-6673; 844-259-7178 Spanish

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.