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Medications That Cause Tardive Dyskenisia

Lori Colbo's personal experiences, research, and writing on mental illness have given hope and understanding to those affected by it.

What is TD?

What is TD?

What Is Tardive Dyskinesia?

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder most commonly caused by the use of neuroleptic drugs. TD usually manifests in involuntary, repetitive facial movements, mouth movements, and sometimes body movements. Here are the symptoms of TD:

  • lip-smacking
  • chewing
  • sucking
  • facial movements
  • tongue protrusion
  • grimacing
  • extremity movements
  • rapid eye blinking or twitching

TD affects about 500,000 people in the United States.1 Women and people over the age of 65 are more sensitive to TD when on the offending medications. In older people, the metabolism slows down and is not able to process the medication as effectively.2 Approximately 15-30% of persons who receive long-term treatment with neuroleptics are afflicted with TD.3

Involuntary mouth movements are a symptom of Tardive Dyskenisia.

Involuntary mouth movements are a symptom of Tardive Dyskenisia.

What Causes Tardive Dyskinesia?

TD usually occurs after longer-term use of antipsychotics and other medications as well (see list below). Often patients who take large doses of these medications are more at risk, especially with prolonged use. Tardive Dyskinesia has no recourse and, in many cases, is a permanent condition. There are a few solutions available, but research shows they have a low success rate. In many cases, the best way to avoid TD is to prevent it by monitoring the patient regularly and keeping doses at a minimum. It is advised that at the first signs of TD, the medication should be discontinued (with doctor recommendation). With many neuroleptic medications, such as antipsychotics, the discontinuance of the drug often does not guarantee that the TD will stop. In fact, in many cases, the very offending medication may mask the condition, or only allow it to manifest mildly. TD may actually get worse or begin after going off antipsychotic medications. It's really a double-edged sword.

Long-term use of Dopamine Antagonists can cause tardive dyskinesia. According to the TD Center website, "These medications operate by blocking receptors in the dopamine pathway of the brain, which controls voluntary muscles and certain emotional response mechanisms (known as the nigrostriatal pathway)."

A List of Medications That Can Cause TD

Here is a list of medications that can cause Tardive Dyskinesia (this is not an exhaustive list):

Neuroleptic Drugs

  • Abilify (Aripiprazole)
  • Clozaril (Clozapine) (may also be used to lessen symptoms)
  • Geodon (Ziprasidone)
  • Haldol (Haloperidol)
  • Loxitane / Loxapac (Loxapine)
  • Mellaril (Thioridazine)
  • Navane (Thiothixene)
  • Orap (Pimozide)
  • Piportil (Pipotiazine)
  • Prolixin / Modecate (Fluphenazine)
  • Risperdal (Risperidone)
  • Serentil (Mesoridazine)
  • Seroquel (Quetiapine)
  • Stelazine (Trifluoperazine)
  • Thorazine (Chlorpromazine)
  • Trilafon (Perphenazine)
  • Zyprexa (Olanzapine)

Non-Neuroleptic Drugs

  • Asendin (Amoxapine)
  • Cocaine and other street drugs
  • Elavil (Amitriptyline)
  • Lithium
  • Nardil (Phenelzine)
  • Prozac (Fluoxetine)
  • Sinequan (Doxepine)
  • Tofranil (Imipramine)
  • Zoloft (Sertraline)
  • Reglan (metoclopramide)
  • Compazine (prochlorperazine)
  • Phenergan (promethazine)
Many medications cause Tardive Dyskinesia.

Many medications cause Tardive Dyskinesia.

Options for Resolution

As I said, there are few effective remedies for TD. According to, some doctors and practitioners suggest Vitamin E; however, there is no scientific proof yet that it is effective.

There are a few drugs that may lessen the severity of TD. Tetrabenazine is one that reduces dopamine levels and sometimes has been known to calm symptoms down. Other medications that are sometimes helpful are:

  • Mirapex (an anti-parkinson's medication).
  • Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) have had minimal success in reducing the symptoms
  • Propanolol
  • Clozapine
  • Botulinum toxin

There are side effects to some of these medications, so caution is needed. Clozapine (not clonidine or clonazepam) has some serious side effects and requires a lot of monitoring and regular blood work.

In the last year, the FDA has approved two new drugs for the treatment of TD.4 Here is a list:

Ingrezza (Valbenazine). A clinical trial of 234 people suffering from TD, after six weeks, there was a significant improvement.

Austedo (Deutetrabenazine). Originally FDA approved for chorea associated with Huntington's Disease, and it was shortly found to help with TD.

Ken Duckworth MD, President of NAMI, offers hope with these two new medications. "I have felt a bit helpless in the past when I see people who experience TD. We didn’t have any treatment options approved by the FDA. But now we have two new tools, and I look forward to learning more about these medications from my patients’ experiences and scientific literature."

What Should You Do If You Take Medication That Causes TD?

If you take a drug that is known to cause TD, but you do not at this time have symptoms, and it worries you, talk to your doctor right away, ask questions and let him know your concerns. He will be able to assess TD symptoms with something called the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) scale. This assessment should be done about every six months.


For more information on Tardive Dyskinesia

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Lori Colbo


Lori Colbo (author) from United States on October 15, 2012:

Hey schoolgirl, glad to hear you are doing well. Been a little stress in my life the last several days, but I glorify the name of the Lord for he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, amen.

Rosemary Amrhein on October 14, 2012:

Beautiful work, lambservant, how are you?

I'm doing very well, and greatful!

Huntgoddess from Midwest U.S.A. on October 14, 2012:

Thanks so much for this. I love Dr. Breggin, also.

Rosemary Amrhein on May 24, 2012:


I give him credit for my recovery as well. Amen!!

Lori Colbo (author) from United States on May 23, 2012:

Blondey, Yes, I discovered that Dr. Breggin was no a hubber. I think I may have seen him on Youtube a long time ago but not sure. Regardless, Jesus is our Great Physician, and I give Him credit for my recovery. Do I hear and amen?

Blondey on May 23, 2012:

Thank you dear.

It's truly faith in God that is sorely needed for the "hopeless" Dr. Breggin speaks of that in his book (not a hub, a book by him) He's called the "conscience" of psychiatry, a most remarkable man. What a wonderful person to have in this mixed up world of psychiatry!!

Lori Colbo (author) from United States on May 22, 2012:

Schoolgirl, it is sad you were on medication for 20 years that made you feel that way. Certainly the doctors should have realized at some point along the way when more medications were being developed that you needed something else.

I have also read a lot about the use of antidepressants not being good for those with bipolar. Don't know if that's been an issue for you. There is so much controversy over whether meds are bad or good, if the drug companies and medical professionals, who are always in bed together (as one hubber told me) are just trying to make money at our expense. All I Know is that I am currently doing well on medication combination as far as mental and emotional stability goes. I may have a very slight TD coming on so I'm watching it. I will read the hub you recommended and get back to you. Thanks for your comments.

Blondey, It is disturbing. I hate watching it. It is a sad turn of events for such a sweet little girl. I'm glad it's more of the exception than the rule. Blessings.

Blondey on May 22, 2012:

Just watched the video of the little girl.

Can't even comment right now.

Have a blessed night!


Rosemary Amrhein on May 22, 2012:

I go to a medication info group weekly run by counselors, (but I always end up contributing a lot) and it pisses me off! I'm stopping going.

Medication makes me mad. I was on lithium for 20yrs; it made me angry and sucidal. I'm not anymore.

Please God--

Read "Your Drug May Be Your problem" by Peter Breggin, just a suggestion!



Dr. Gary L. Sidley from Lancashire, England on May 22, 2012:

An informative and well-written hub that highlights the risk of serious side-effects associated with anti-psychotic medication. Sadly, these risks are typically understated by psychiatrists.

I've recently written a hub that includes reference to tardive dyskinesia (along with descriptions of historical psychiatric treatments that did far more harm than good). Feel free to drop by.

Gloria Siess from Wrightwood, California on May 25, 2011:

GREAT Hub/I was on haldol over 20 yrs ago and had to stop taking it due to the dental problems it caused, plus the numbness.I am on Neurotin for nerve and spinal pain and have found out it can cause blindness. So many medications have horrific side affects--would love your comments on my Hub on Zetia, which nearly killed me. God bless You, Garnet (Gloria)

Blondey on May 04, 2011:

Trilaphon is a very old medication I took about 15 years ago, it's also called perphanazine I think. Anyways it has the same effects of seroquel in so far as usage.

Lori Colbo (author) from United States on May 04, 2011:

Schoolgirl, I have never heard of trilaphon, what is that? I'm glad you have a good psychiatrist. Thanks for stopping by sister. God bless!

Rosemary Amrhein on May 04, 2011:

Hi lambservant,

I am glad you made this hub. I'm on abilify now for like a week....I grind my teeth but I know that's not a side effect. As for what you mentioned I don't think I have it, but it's good to be aware.

I used to be on trilaphon which said caused it so I got off. I'm on seroquel too. But I"m on a lower dose now. My psychiatrist watches for symptoms, and I'm glad yours does too.

This is a very useful hub!