3 Strategies to Help Manage Tardive Dyskinesia

How to approach working with your healthcare provider to better manage tardive dyskinesia.

Medically reviewed in May 2021

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is an involuntary movement disorder that occurs as a result of taking certain medications—most often, neuroleptic medications that are used in the treatment of schizophrenia. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing TD, every treatment plan has one thing in common—to effectively manage TD, you need to partner with a healthcare provider.

Here, we look at three strategies that can help you get the most out of your partnership.

Make a list of all your medications
Treatment for TD often involves adjusting the medication that’s causing TD—either lowering the dose of the medication or switching to a different medication. This must be done under the careful guidance of a healthcare provider. Some information that can be helpful to your healthcare providers that are treating TD:

  • Your current medications
  • Medications you have taken in the past
  • How long you have been taking each medication
  • The dosage of each medication
  • Your symptoms and how they have changed over time
  • Your medical history and overall health

Different medications can sometimes interact with each other—one medication can interfere with how another medication works. For these reasons, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking. This includes medications you have been prescribed, as well as over-the-counter medications and any herbal remedies or supplements.

Be honest—even when it’s uncomfortable
In order to give you the best treatment possible, your healthcare provider needs the full picture. During treatment, your healthcare provider may ask you to provide information that may feel uncomfortable. For example—questions about drug and alcohol use, questions about negative thoughts and emotions, and questions about topics that feel very personal. It’s important to be honest when answering these questions—honest answers help your healthcare provider make informed decisions about your treatment.

Keep all your appointments
Regular appointments with your healthcare provider are an important part of managing TD. During these visits, your healthcare provider may perform a physical exam, review any medications you’re taking, discuss any issues you might be having (such as new or changing symptoms), and discuss your overall health (including how you’re feeling emotionally). These conversations are an important source of information for you and your healthcare provider and can help determine the next steps in treatment.

Smart, healthy steps
Remember that TD will vary from person to person when it comes to symptoms and management. By making it a priority to take care of yourself and be honest with your healthcare provider, you’ll be taking important steps to getting the most out of your treatment.

U.S. Food & Drug Administration. "Drug Interactions: What You Should Know."
National Alliance on Mental Health. "Tardive Dyskinesia."
National Organization of Rare Disorders. "Tardive Dyskinesia."
William Lopez and Dilip V. Jeste. "Movement Disorders and Substance Abuse." Psychiatric Services, 1997. Vol. 48, No. 5.
National Institute on Aging. "What Do I Need to Tell the Doctor?"

Featured Content


8 Risk Factors for Tardive Dyskinesia

Early treatment is recommended for those who are at risk to develop tardive dyskinesia.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Tardive Dyskinesia

Questions to ask at your appointment to help better understand next steps in TD treatment and management.

How is Tardive Dyskinesia Diagnosed?

What to expect when seeing a healthcare provider about this involuntary movement disorder.

What Are the Symptoms of TD?

While symptoms of tardive dyskinesia can vary from person to person, some symptoms are more common than others.

5 Ways to Support Someone With Tardive Dyskinesia

Here are five strategies you can use to support someone with TD.