Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder that is characterized by uncontrollable, abnormal, and repetitive movements of the face, torso, and/or other body parts, which may be disruptive and negatively impact individuals. The condition 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 TD, these treatments are thought to result in irregular dopamine signaling in a region of the brain that controls movement. The symptoms of TD can often be persistent and potentially disabling. It is estimated that at least 500,000 people in the United States are affected by TD. The uncontrollable movements of TD 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 treatments for TD that have been studied in well-designed clinical studies and are recommended as first-line therapies. These treatments are valbenazine (Ingrezza) and deutetrabenazine (Austedo).


While the symptoms of TD can often be persistent and potentially disabling after the discontinuation of an antipsychotic, TD can be managed.


NINDS conducts and supports a broad range of research on movement disorders including tardive dyskinesia. The goals of this research are to improve understanding of these disorders and to discover ways to treat, prevent, and, ultimately, cure them. Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus Movement Disorders