Welcome to another installment of Medication Monday, the weekly series that examines some of the common types of mental health medication, as well as some of the common issues associated with mental health medications. And before we get into this week’s post, I want to toss out my regular reminder, which is that Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice, but rather as a brief informative introduction to mental health medications. And this week we are talking about the medication deutetrabenazine, which is also known by the name Austedo.
Deutetrabenazine is a medication designed to treat the involuntary and uncontrollable movements associated with Tardive Dyskinesia, or TD, a condition experienced by some users of anti-psychotic medications. In addition to valbenazine, deutetrabenazine is the other FDA-approved medication for TD.
The symptoms of TD include lip smacking, tongue rolling, jaw clenching, rhythmic movement of fingers or toes, and hip rocking or thrusting. Like valbenazine, deutetrabenazine can help reduce some or all of these symptoms when it is taken regularly as prescribed. Missing doses can increase the risk of symptoms re-occurring. Drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs can also increase the sedative impacts of the medication or can reduce its effectiveness.
Other side effects that users should know about are diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, and inflammation of the nose and throat. Rarer side effects include increases to anxiety, constipation, depression, insomnia, irregular heart beats, and urinary track infections. Users should inform their medical provider of any of these risks. The risk of depression and suicidal ideation as a side effect of deutetrabenazine is particularly noteworthy for patients with Huntington’s disease.
Users should also communicate with their doctor or psychopharmacologist about the overall impact of the medication during the first few weeks, as it may be several weeks before the medication becomes fully effective.
So if TD is something you battle, I hope this helps. For everyone else, I hope this was informative. And as always, thanks for reading.