Information on Tardive Dyskinesia

This neurological syndrome is caused by long-term use of neuroleptic drugs.

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. Impaired movements of the fingers may appear as though the patient is playing an invisible guitar or piano.

Is there any treatment?

There is no standard treatment for tardive dyskinesia. Treatment is highly individualized. The first step is generally to stop or minimize the use of the neuroleptic drug. 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 patients. Other drugs such as benzodiazepines, adrenergic antagonists, and dopamine agonists may also be beneficial.

What is the prognosis?

Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia may remain long after discontinuation of neuroleptic drugs; however, with careful management, some symptoms may improve and/or disappear with time.

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.

Organizations

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Blvd.
Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
nimhinfo@nih.gov
http://www.nimh.nih.gov
Tel: 301-443-4513 TTY: 301-443-8431 Depression Info: 800-421-4211 Anxiety Info: 88-88-ANXIETY (269-4389) Panic Info: 888-64-PANIC (64-72642)
Fax: 301-443-4279

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

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.

Source:

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD 20892

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