Tetrabenazine treatment in movement disorders

Clin Neuropharmacol. 2004 Sep-Oct;27(5):230-3. doi: 10.1097/01.wnf.0000136892.24629.96.


Tetrabenazine (TBZ) is a catecholamine depletor used for the treatment of a variety of movement disorders. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of TBZ in a retrospective chart review in 3 tertiary care movement disorders centers over long-term treatment. Of 150 patients to whom TBZ was prescribed, 118 were followed up and assessed using the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC), (-3 to +3), a composite grade from a patient and caregiver scale over variable periods. The patients had a variety of hyperkinetic movement disorders including dystonia (generalized and focal: axial, Meige syndrome, torticollis, blepharospasm, bruxism), Huntington disease (HD) or other choreas, tardive dyskinesia (TD) or akathisia, and Tourette syndrome. Mean patient age was 48.8 +/- 18.7 years; 48 were men (40.7%) with a mean disease duration of 93 months. The mean follow-up time was 22 months and the mean TBZ dose was 76.2 +/- 22.5 mg/d (median 75 mg, range 25-175 mg/d). The mean CGIC score was +1 (mild improvement). The group of patients who scored +3 on the CGIC (very good improvement) represented 18.6% (n = 22) of all patients. They had HD or other types of chorea 7.6% (n = 9), facial dystonia/dyskinesia (n = 7, 5.9%), 1 with TD, 2 with trunk dystonia, 2 with Tourette syndrome, and 1 with tardive akathisia. This group had the longest treatment duration and received a mean TBZ dose of 70.5 mg/d (median 75 mg/d) for a mean of 25.4 +/- 21.3 months. The report concludes that TBZ is a moderately effective treatment of a large variety of hyperkinetic movement disorders, with excellent effects in a subgroup with chorea and facial dystonia/dyskinesias.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chorea / drug therapy
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hemifacial Spasm / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperkinesis / drug therapy
  • Hyperkinesis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Tetrabenazine / adverse effects
  • Tetrabenazine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Dyskinesia Agents
  • Tetrabenazine