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Movement disorders can sometimes be a side effect from taking medicines called antipsychotics. Doctors use these medicines to treat mental health problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Movement disorders are body movements that can be hard to control. Some can happen soon after you start taking the medicines. These are called extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). They include muscle spasms and trouble sitting still.
If you take the medicines for a long time, you may get a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD). It makes you repeat the same movement over and over. This movement often involves your tongue, face, mouth, and jaw. But other parts of your body, like your arms and legs, can also be affected. The movement happens without your control. For some people, TD doesn't go away.
You may be able to take these medicines without getting a movement disorder. Side effects may get better or go away if you stop taking the medicines. They can also get better or go away if you switch to a new medicine.
When you have a movement disorder, you may:
If you've been on your medicines for a long time, also watch for long-term side effects. These may include:
Side effects may start while you take antipsychotic medicines. But they can also show up when you stop these medicines or start a smaller dose.
The only sure way to prevent movement disorders is to not use antipsychotic medicines. If you need these medicines to stay healthy, there are steps you can take to help lower your risk.
Treatment depends on how much you need the medicine that causes the side effects. If side effects are causing big problems for you, your doctor may have you lower the dose or stop the medicine. Or your doctor may switch you to a different medicine. There are also medicines that can treat your movement disorder or reduce your symptoms.
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Adaptation Date: 2/18/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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