Send to

Choose Destination
Schizophr Bull. 1997;23(4):583-609.

Treatment of tardive dyskinesia.

Author information

Neuropsychiatry Branch, NIMH Neuroscience Ctr., St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC 20032, USA.


Although the new generation of atypical antipsychotic agents could some day eliminate concerns about tardive dyskinesia (TD), this disorder remains a significant clinical problem for both patients and physicians. Fortunately, many, if not most, cases of TD are mild. For patients with mild to moderate TD, therapeutic efforts are primarily directed at minimizing neuroleptic exposure or, when possible, changing to atypical agents. Most cases of TD do not seem to progress, suggesting that the risk of remaining on typical neuroleptics is probably small. Patients with moderate to severe forms of TD present greater challenges. These patients frequently require medication to suppress their dyskinesias. A variety of suppressive agents have been tried with limited success. No treatment strategy has emerged that is clearly superior or even successful in most patients. Increasing doses of typical neuroleptics may be useful for short-term suppression; however, the long-term efficacy and risk of this strategy have not been studied carefully. Data on atypical neuroleptics are scant. Clozapine's short-term suppressive effects seem, at best, weak, but patients may improve with long-term treatment. Medications with relatively few side effects that may have suppressive efficacy for some patients include calcium channel blockers, adrenergic antagonists, and vitamin E. Gamma-amino-butyric acid agonists agents and dopamine depleters are frequently useful, but have troubling side effects of their own. A variety of other medications have been employed, but are not well studied. For patients with tardive dystonia, anticholinergic agents or botulinum toxin has been particularly effective. Efforts to understand the neurobiology of TD may shed light on this persistent clinical conundrum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center