Diagnostic and Treatment Fundamentals for Tardive Dyskinesia

J Clin Psychiatry. 2021 Oct 12;82(6):NU20016AX1C. doi: 10.4088/JCP.NU20016AX1C.


Tardive dyskinesia (TD) consists of involuntary movements of the tongue, lips, face, trunk, and extremities that occur in patients treated long-term with dopamine antagonist medications. TD can be associated with significant functional impairment and be socially stigmatizing. TD, once established, has proved to be often irreversible and remains a significant treatment issue. An accurate and early diagnosis of TD is crucial because the risk of permanence increases over time. Clinicians should be educated on which patients are most at risk for TD and conduct assessments through clinical examination or through the use of a structured evaluative tool such as the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS). Patients and caregivers need to be educated about the risks of and alternatives to antipsychotic medication and early signs of TD. New treatment approaches to persistent TD are available and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration: the vesicular monoamine transporter-2 (VMAT2) inhibitors, deutetrabenazine and valbenazine. When treatment is initiated, a baseline assessment should be obtained by clinicians using the AIMS and follow-up assessments should be done on a regular basis. In this educational activity, Drs Correll and Citrome offer a review of the diagnostic and treatment fundamentals for TD.