• Tardive Dyskinesis
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a potentially permanent side effect of drugs used to control
Several different theories have been proposed for the development of TD.
Unfortunately, discontinuing medication that caused TD usually doesn’t help, and may even worsen the dyskinesia as well as the underlying schizophrenia.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments for Tardive Dyskinesia
Between 1987 and 1998, at least five
However, in 1999, the picture on vitamin E changed with the publication of one more study—the largest and longest to date.
Why the discrepancy between this study and the earlier ones? The researchers, some of whom had worked on the earlier, positive studies of vitamin E, were at pains to develop an answer.
The bottom line: The effectiveness of vitamin E for a given person is simply not known. Given the lack of other good treatments for TD, and the general safety of the vitamin, it may be worth discussing with your physician.
For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the full
Other Proposed Natural Treatments for Tardive Dyskinesia
Choline and Related Substances
According to one theory, TD symptoms may be caused or aggravated by an imbalance between two neurotransmitters, dopamine and acetylcholine. The nutrient
and several related substances—
Although a variety of small studies have been conducted on these substances, evidence for their effectiveness is mixed at best. Three small double-blind studies of lecithin had conflicting results: one found lecithin more helpful than placebo,
CDP-choline, a natural substance closely related to choline, has also been the subject of a couple of small studies with mixed results. An
The substance DMAE is better studied than these other cholinergic treatments for TD—but the preponderance of evidence suggests it is not effective. Of 12 double-blind studies reviewed, only one found DMAE to be significantly effective when compared with placebo.
Other Natural Treatments
One small pilot study suggests that
Preliminary evidence suggests that
Prevention: High-dose Vitamins?
An informal 20-year study of more than 60,000 people treated with antipsychotic drugs plus high doses of vitamins found that only 34 of them (0.5%) developed TD.
Herbs and Supplements to Use Only with Caution
There is some concern that the amino acid phenylalanine
33. Kunin RA. Manganese and niacin in the treatment of drug-induced tardive dyskinesias. J Orthomol Psychiatry. 1976;5:4–27. In: Werbach MR. Nutritional Influences on Illness [book on CD-ROM] . 2nd ed. Tarzana, Calif. 1996.
34. Kunin RA. Manganese and niacin in the treatment of drug-induced tardive dyskinesias. J Orthomol Psychiatry. 1976;5:4–27. In: Werbach MR. Nutritional Influences on Illness [book on CD-ROM] . 2nd ed. Tarzana, Calif. 1996.
35. Peet M, Laugharne JD, Mellor J, et al. Essential fatty acid deficiency in erythrocyte membranes from chronic schizophrenic patients, and the clinical effects of dietary supplementation . Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids . 1996;55:71–75.
41. Gardos G, Cole JO, Matthews JD, et al. The acute effects of a loading dose of phenylalanine in unipolar depressed patients with and without tardive dyskinesia. Neuropsychopharmacology . 1992;6:241–247.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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