A bottle of pills spilling out onto a purple background
Tardive dyskinesia occurs as a side effect from taking medications that are often used to treat mental health disorders.

Tardive Dyskinesia Treatment

Tardive dyskinesia occurs as a side effect of antipsychotic medication that is commonly used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders. Essentially, this tardive dyskinesia causes a person to have involuntary movements such as blinking your eyes or sticking out your tongue. This happens because antipsychotic medications often interfere with the release of dopamine.

Dopamine works to regulate movements and with too little of it in your system, movement becomes irregular and jerky. While not everybody who takes anti-psychotic medication will suffer from tardive dyskinesia, once it develops, it may become permanent. Fortunately, there are tardive dyskinesia treatment options available.

Lower the Dose

One of the easiest things that can be done to treat tardive dyskinesia is to lower the dosage of the antipsychotic medication. In some cases, slightly tweaking the dosage can remove jerking movements without having a negative impact on treating the original mental condition.

Keep in mind, you should never lower your own dose of medication. Seek the assistance of your doctor before you change any of your dosages.

Add in Other Medications

There are some medications available that work as a treatment for tardive dyskinesia. This medication can work to relieve the symptoms without detracting from the antipsychotic medication.

Your doctor will be able to guide you toward which options are best for you. Never take medications unless they have been prescribed to you by your doctor.

Change Medications

Changing medications may be a solution. Fortunately, there are a variety of antipsychotic medications, and other types may not cause tardive dyskinesia. People are impacted differently by medications, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Your doctor may have you try a few different medications over time to find which ones work best for you. Keep in mind that it usually takes about three months for the body to adjust to a new medication. Trying to find the right one for you may take several months or several years to identify.

Medications for Tardive Dyskinesia

In some cases, medications may be prescribed in order to treat the symptoms associated with tardive dyskinesia. Currently, there are two types of medications that are FDA-approved to be used for tardive dyskinesia treatment. They are:

  • Valbenazine (Ingrezza)
  • Deutetrabenazine (Austedo)

Both of these medications work to regulate dopamine, which is responsible for involuntary movements. Unfortunately, both medications can cause drowsiness, and Austedo can actually cause depression in people who also have Huntington’s disease.

Individuals will need to work with their doctors to decide if these medications can be used in a treatment plan that will work for them.

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Natural Remedies

Sometimes, people prefer to take the natural remedy route when it comes to handling the side effects of medication. While there is no scientific backing that natural remedies work, some people use melatonin, Vitamin B6, or Vitamin E.

As always, you should discuss these options with your doctor before taking any type of supplement to ensure that it is safe.

Prevention is Key

When it comes to tardive dyskinesia treatment, prevention is important You should always be as informed as possible about the type of medications your doctor prescribes and their potential side effects. While there is no way to know for certain if you will develop tardive dyskinesia, it’s critical to have the full picture so you can make the most informed decision regarding your health.

Medications that may cause tardive dyskinesia include:

  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • Fluphenazine (Prolixin)
  • Haloperidol (Haldol)
  • Thioridazine (Mellaril)
  • Trifluoperazine (Stelazine)

While tardive dyskinesia may be a potential side effect of the above-mentioned medication, it’s not a guarantee. There is no clear reason why some people develop tardive dyskinesia and others do not. This is why it’s incredibly important to have your doctor monitor you as you try to find the right treatment plan that works for you.

Making Difficult Decisions

Tardive dyskinesia puts people in a difficult position. After all, many people rely on antipsychotic medication in order to be able to function in everyday life. However, once tardive dyskinesia develops, that can pose an issue as well.

It’s certainly a balancing act to figure out which treatment plans should be selected that won’t interfere with treating the original mental illness. People should be aware that finding the right treatment plan may consist of a period of trial and error. Some treatments work better for others, and results may vary from patient to patient.


Tardive dyskinesia can be a difficult condition to live with. Sometimes it lasts for a few months, years, or can potentially last a lifetime. However, there are treatment options that could help.

If you or someone you know has suddenly started to experience involuntary movements, then it is time to talk to your medical provider. There may be a treatment solution that works for you. Reach out to your doctor for more information.