Tetrabenazine (marketed under the trade names Nitoman® in Canada and Xenazine® in New Zealand and some parts of Europe - also available in the USA as an orphan drug) is a dopamine-depleting drug that is closely related to the antipsychotics and works similarly, though its action is subtly different and it is not necessarily considered an antipsychotic itself. more...
Tetrabenazine is used as a treatment, but not a cure for hyperkinetic movement disorders such as:
- Huntington's Disease - specificially the chorea associated with it
- Tourette's Syndrome and other tic disorders
- Tardive dyskinesia, a serious and sometimes irreversible side effect of long-term use of many antipsychotics, mainly typical antipsychotics
Because tetrabenazine is closely related to the antipsychotics, many of its side effects are similar. Some of these include:
- Depression - the most common side effect, reported in roughly 15% of those who take the medication
- Akathisia (aka "restless pacing" - an inability to keep still, with intense anxiety when forced to do so)
Unlike many of the antipychotics, tetrabenazine is not known to cause Tardive dyskinesia, and in fact can be an effective treatment for the antipsychotic-induced movement disorder.
- Because of the relatively high incidence of depression, it has been recommended that people with a history of depression avoid taking tetrabenazine. Research into this is ongoing however, and this warning may be dropped in the future.
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