I take an antianxiety med called Perphenazine. I’ve taken it for years. It works wonders, but the only problem with it is that one of its negative side effects is tardive dyskinesia. According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, tardive dyskinesia is:
“...one of the muscular side effects of antipsychotic drugs, especially the older generation like haloperidol. TD does not occur until after many months or years of taking antipsychotic drugs, unlike akathisia (restlessness), dystonia (sudden and painful muscle stiffness) and Parkinsonism (tremors and slowing down of all body muscles), which can occur within hours to days of taking an antipsychotic drug. TD is primarily characterized by random movements in the tongue, lips or jaw as well as facial grimacing, movements of arms, legs, fingers and toes, or even swaying movements of the trunk or hips. TD can be quite embarrassing to the affected patient when in public. The movements disappear during sleep. They can be mild, moderate or severe.”
It’s not like I want to develop facial or body tics, but Perphenazine works so well for me that I’m willing to take the risks of developing these problems. My doctor keeps me on a low dose of Perphenazine and monitors my facial and body movements every time I see him. He wants me to tell him immediately if I feel as though I’m developing a facial or body tic.
I probably won’t develop tardive dyskinesia, but if I do, I’ll deal with it. I’ve seen people, particularly women, with this side effect. One lady was continually smacking her lips. I remember staring at her; I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. Was that what I was going to look like in a few years?
If you’re on newer antianxiety meds, you’re less likely to develop tardive dyskinesia. I’ve tried taking some of the newer meds such as Risperidone, Quetiapine Fumarate, and Olanzapine, but none of them worked for me. So I’m stuck on Perphenazine, at least until another comes along that I can try.
Right now, the good effects of the medicine outweigh the risks.
Do you have tardive dyskinesia?
How do you deal with it?