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How is tardive dyskinesia commonly treated?

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Psychiatrists commonly treat tardive dyskinesia by changing their patients' antipsychotic medications, reducing their doses and preventing the disorder with regular screenings, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As of 2015, no medicine cures tardive dyskinesia, although in specific cases, the antipsychotic clozapine has been effective. Patients who take antipsychotic medication for months to decades may develop the disorder that produces random muscle movements of the lips, tongue or jaw.

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As of 2015, researchers are testing vitamin E and other supplements, benzodiazepines, gingko biloba and branched chain amino acids as treatments for tardive dyskinesia but none have been established as effective, explains the National Alliance on Mental Illness. People taking antipsychotic medications should undergo periodic evaluations for signs of the disorder to avoid severe cases. Psychiatrists generally conduct annual patient screenings for the disorder using the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale.

Individuals with tardive dyskinesia exhibit signs of the disorder such as tongue thrusting, repetitive chewing and lip pursing, according to Everyday Health. The disorder may also manifest itself in patients' arm and head movements. Patients who take medications to treat bipolar disorder appear to develop tardive dyskinesia more often and sooner than patients taking them to treat schizophrenia. Haloperidol or chlorpromazine, two first-generation antipsychotic medications that work by blocking dopamine receptors, are linked to the disorder. Patients with signs of the disorder should consult their doctors about switching to second-generation antipsychotic medications.

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