Vitamins or supplements for tardive dyskinesia: do they work?

  • Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder caused by long-term use of certain medications.
  • Although some studies are encouraging, more evidence is needed to support treatment of tardive dyskinesia with vitamins, supplements, or both.
  • Treatment for tardive dyskinesia may involve adjusting the medication that’s causing it or taking medication for the condition.

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is an involuntary movement disorder. It is characterized by abnormal and sometimes repetitive facial movements, such as grimacing, sticking out the tongue or smacking the lips. It can also involve involuntary movements of the limbs and trunk.

TD develops in some people as a side effect of taking certain medications for a long time. most common cause is the use of antipsychotic drugs, such as those prescribed to treat schizophrenia.

TD can be treated in several ways, including two approved drugs. You might also wonder if there are any vitamins or other dietary supplements that can help TD.

Here’s what the research says and why it’s important to discuss it with your doctor before trying any vitamins or supplements for TD.

Although some small studies are encouraging, there is limited evidence that certain vitamins or supplements may improve symptoms of TD compared to a placebo. Here’s what the research says.

Vitamin E

Some to research suggests that long-term use of antipsychotic drugs can lead to an overproduction of free radicals that can damage brain cells. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and it is known to help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals

It has long been suggested that vitamin E supplements may improve symptoms of TD, but more studies are needed.

A systematic review 2019 treatment recommendations found that vitamin E does not reverse TD, but may help prevent symptoms from worsening.

A 2018 report came to a similar conclusion, but also noted that trials of vitamin E for TD were small and of poor quality. The researchers wrote that more research on vitamin E for this condition is needed.

One earlier systematic review 2017 found low-quality evidence that vitamin E may prevent worsening of TD symptoms in people who continue to take antipsychotic medications.

Regardless of its potential benefits on TD, too much vitamin E can cause health issues, such as an increased risk of serious bleeding.

the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommends that adults take no more than 1,000 milligrams of vitamin E per day, but he notes that some studies have shown that lower amounts of this vitamin could also be harmful.

Vitamin E supplements can also interact with medications and other dietary supplements. Talk to a healthcare professional before you start taking vitamin E supplements to make sure they are safe for you.

ginkgo biloba

ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living tree species in the world. It has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Extract of ginkgo biloba leaves is also available in promoted dietary supplements for various conditions.

A randomized controlled trial found that the extract of ginkgo biloba may be effective in relieving symptoms of TD, according to a 2018 report of various interventions for TD.

However, this was the result of a single randomized controlled trial, which is not sufficient to apply the results to a larger population. Further high quality studies are needed to confirm these results.

the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) says there is no evidence that ginkgo is helpful for any health condition. The leaf extract appears to be safe in moderate amounts, but may cause side effects, such as upset stomach and constipation. It may also interact with some conventional medications.

Vitamin B6 and pyridoxal phosphate 5

Vitamin B6 helps the body treat neurotransmitters and plays a role in cognitive development. It is sometimes listed on supplements as pyridoxal 5 phosphate, which is the active form of vitamin B6.

Some to research suggests it may be able to reduce symptoms of dyskinesia, but trials have been limited. There is little research on its long-term safety and effectiveness for TD.

Adults should avoid taking more than 100 milligrams of B6 per day, according to the ODS. He warns that taking high levels of B6 supplements for a year or more could lead to severe nerve damage and loss of control over body movement.


Melatonin is a natural hormone that the brain produces in response to darkness. It helps with your circadian rhythm and promotes sleep.

A 2018 report found no evidence that melatonin worked better than placebo or no treatment in improving TD or preventing symptoms from worsening.

According to NCCIH, short-term use of melatonin supplements appears to be safe for most people. There is, however, a lack of information on long-term safety.

And melatonin supplements may interact with certain other medications, so consult a healthcare professional before taking them.

Branched Chain Amino Acids

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids found in protein-rich foods. They are often found in supplements that promote muscle growth and athletic performance.

BCAAs include the following essential acids:

This same 2018 review found evidence that BCAAs can reduce symptoms of TD, but the studies on this were low quality and had small sample sizes. He concluded that the results on BCAAs for TD are uncertain and more research is needed.

the ODS says taking up to 20 grams of BCAAs per day in divided doses appears to be safe for people. However, BCAAs can interact with certain medications.

Although vitamins and supplements are not proven to help with DT, several treatment options are available. Treatment for TD is individualized based on the cause of the condition and your symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend that you adjust the dosage of the drug causing TD or switch to a new drug altogether. Reducing the dose of certain medications can sometimes relieve the symptoms of TD, but it may take time before you notice any improvements.

In some cases, this may be enough to resolve TD or prevent it from getting worse.

Depending on your condition and health, changing the drug causing TD is not always an option. But there are two oral medications approved for the treatment of TD. They are:

  • deutetrabenazine (Austedo)
  • valbenazine (Ingrezza)

These drugs affect dopamine in areas of the brain that involve motor control.

If these drugsdoes not work, your doctor may prescribe another medicine for “off-label” use as a treatment for DT. These drugs include:

  • amantadine
  • clonazepam
  • propranolol
  • tetrabenazine

Everyone reacts differently to these treatments. Your doctor can adjust the treatment depending on your condition. Be sure to report any new or worsening symptoms immediately.

TD is a movement disorder that occurs as a side effect of certain antipsychotic medications. These drugs work by altering the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, which are thought to cause the involuntary movements of TD in some people.

Some research suggests that certain vitamins and supplements may improve TD symptoms. However, many studies on this have been of low quality and have included small sample sizes, so more research is needed.

Vitamin deficiency could damage cells throughout the body and contribute to worsening symptoms of many different conditions, including TD.

Vitamin supplementation may be able to counteract this effect and explain why participants with DD in some research studies experienced improvement in their symptoms.

However, there is not yet enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the correct dosages, safety, and effectiveness of vitamins and supplements for long-term TD. And vitamins, natural herbs, and dietary supplements can interact with other medications. If you want to try supplements, talk to your doctor first.

It is important to make sure you are taking a safe dose and that it will not interfere with any other medications you are taking.


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