What Causes Tardive Dyskinesia?

Reviewed on 3/5/2021

Tardive dyskinesia is caused by prolonged use of medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain.  Many drugs can cause tardive dyskinesia, including antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, anticholinergics, Parkinson's drugs, and others.
Tardive dyskinesia is caused by prolonged use of medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain. Many drugs can cause tardive dyskinesia, including antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, anticholinergics, Parkinson’s drugs, and others.

Tardive dyskinesia is caused by the prolonged use of medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain.

Drugs that can cause tardive dyskinesia include: 

What Is Tardive Dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that causes uncontrollable, abnormal, and repetitive body movements. The condition is a side effect of prolonged use of medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain.

What Are the Symptoms of Tardive Dyskinesia?

Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia include uncontrollable movements that can range from mild to potentially disabling such as:

  • Making odd faces
  • Sticking out the tongue or moving the tongue around
  • Pouting, puckering, or smacking the lips
  • Twisting or spreading the fingers repeatedly, or moving them as though playing a piano
  • Quick, jerking movements, or slow, twisting movements of the legs
  • Neck twisting at strange angles
  • Hip thrusting 

What Is the Treatment for Tardive Dyskinesia?

Not everyone who takes medications that block dopamine receptors in the brain will develop tardive dyskinesia, and in mild cases, no treatment may be needed. 

Treatment for tardive dyskinesia may include reduction of medication or modification of the treatment regimen. (Never stop taking a prescribed medication or alter the regimen without first consulting your doctor.) However, most patients need to be on the types of drugs that cause tardive dyskinesia for a long time so it may not be possible to stop treatment. 

Medications that may help reduce tardive dyskinesia include: 

Patients who have severe tardive dyskinesia that does not respond to other treatments may be helped by a treatment called deep brain stimulation ("DBS"). This treatment involves surgery to place wires into a part of the brain that helps control muscle movement. The wires are attached to a device implanted under the skin that sends electrical signals to the brain to help reduce abnormal movement.

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Reviewed on 3/5/2021
References
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Tardive-Dyskinesia-Information-Page

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tardive-dyskinesia-the-basics?search=Tardive%20dyskinesia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=3~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=3

https://www.brainandspinalcord.org/medications-cause-tardive-dyskinesia/