Tardive Dyskinesia caused by neuroleptic drugs

What is Tardive Dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a neurological disorder that is caused by the long-term use of certain medications prescribed for mental health issues, such as neuroleptic drugs and dopamine receptor blocking agents. TD is characterized by involuntary, repetitive movements of the face, tongue, and/or extremities. The movements usually involve random twitching of the face, lips, and/or tongue. These may be accompanied by other unusual movements of the hands, legs, arms, and/or trunk.

Causes of Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia is primarily caused by the long-term use of antipsychotic medications, commonly known as “neuroleptic” drugs. Neuroleptic drugs are often prescribed to treat mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.

Symptoms of Tardive Dyskinesia

Symptoms of TD vary from person to person, but may include:

  • Involuntary, repetitive movements of the face, tongue, and/or extremities
  • Facial grimacing, lip smacking, sticking out the tongue, puckering lips, eye blinking, or rapid eye movements
  • Jerky or writhing movements of the arms, legs, and/or trunk
  • Difficulty walking or talking
  • Feelings of restlessness or difficulty sitting still
  • Trouble sleeping

Treatment of Tardive Dyskinesia

Treatment options for TD often focus on finding the underlying cause and addressing any medical or psychological issues that may be contributing to the problem. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to control or reduce the symptoms. In other cases, it may be necessary to change the medications that the patient is taking. In some cases, counseling may be necessary to manage the stress and emotional distress caused by TD.