Tardive Dyskinesia

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Houston Methodist’s team of neurologists specialize in the early identification of tardive dyskinesia (TD), a condition where the face or body make uncontrollable, irregular movements. We provide patient-centered care and personalized treatment plans to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Houston Methodist neurologists understand the complexities of tardive dyskinesia. Our specialists provide swift diagnoses, personalized treatment plans and compassionate care for this complex condition. 

Tardive dyskinesia is characterized by involuntary, repetitive body movements. It is often a side effect of antipsychotic medication — symptoms can occur within 6 weeks to several years after starting a drug. However, it can occur spontaneously in any patient or alongside other neurological conditions. 

Diagnosing & Treating Tardive Dyskinesia

How is tardive dyskinesia diagnosed?

Diagnosis begins with a conversation about your symptoms and medication history. People are more likely to develop tardive dyskinesia if they take antipsychotic drugs for a long time, are exposed to high doses of first-generation drugs, are older, have a substance abuse disorder, are female or are of African American or Asian ethnicity.  

Symptoms such as these are common in tardive dyskinesia and indicate a visit to a specialist may be needed: 


  • Facial grimacing 
  • Finger movement 
  • Lip smacking, puckering and pursing 
  • Rapid eye movements 
  • Jaw swinging 
  • Repetitive chewing 
  • Tongue thrusting 


While uncommon, the disorder can also affect the limbs, torso and fingers and, in rare instances, breathing difficulties can occur. 

Blood testing and imaging such as a CT scan or MRI can help identify or rule out underlying conditions. Houston Methodist experts will create a personalized treatment plan based on your results. 

What treatments are available?

If diagnosed early, tardive dyskinesia can be reversed by stopping or adjusting the medication that caused it, although the involuntary movements may become chronic. Deep brain stimulation and medications — such as injections of botulinum toxin (Botox®) — may be prescribed to reduce the severity of symptoms. 

What if I need advanced care or a second opinion?

Accurate diagnosis is key in managing tardive dyskinesia. Houston Methodist specialists will pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and build a personalized treatment plan to restore your quality of life and relieve your symptoms. 

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