If this is okay with you, please close this message.
Explains what tardive dyskinesia is, what causes it and what you can do to manage it.
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is an unwanted side effect of medication, most commonly antipsychotic drugs. These drugs may be part of your treatment if you have a diagnosis of:
Some other drugs used for treating physical conditions can also cause TD as a side effect.
If you’re taking any medication and think you might be experiencing TD, it’s important to speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice. To speak to someone right away you can contact NHS 111 (in England) or NHS Direct (in Wales).
You can also report side effects to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) via their Yellow Card Scheme.
"I had a year-long psychosis as a teenager… Treating the psychosis was utterly prioritised – the side effects of the medication were not properly explained to me or my family as far as I can remember."
Anyone taking antipsychotics drugs is at risk of developing TD. All drugs affect people differently, so it’s not possible to tell whether you’ll get a particular side effect or not. But the risks may depend on:
TD is thought to be particularly common if:
Stopping and starting antipsychotics can also increase the risk of TD continuing once you have it – so it’s very important to talk to a doctor before deciding to come off medication. It’s also possible to develop tardive dyskinesia during or after you stop taking medication.
If you don’t feel your doctor fully informed you about the risk of side effects before prescribing you medication, it’s understandable to feel frustrated or angry. Our legal pages on complaining about health and social care have some information on how you can challenge your healthcare team.
"I firstly experienced finger and small muscle twitches and spasms which gradually got worse."
This information was published in April 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.