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Tardive dyskinesia

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

Tardive dyskinesia 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 tardive dyskinesia, these treatments are thought to result in irregular dopamine signaling in a region of the brain that controls movement.

The symptoms of tardive dyskinesia 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 tardive dyskinesia.

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 tardive dyskinesia 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 tardive dyskinesia at

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

Content source: Accessed June 29, 2023.

The information in this document is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for personalized professional advice. Although the information was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, MedLink, its representatives, and the providers of the information do not guarantee its accuracy and disclaim responsibility for adverse consequences resulting from its use. For further information, consult a physician and the organization referred to herein.

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