A New, Better Option for Tardive Dyskinesia

For those of us who aren’t familiar with Tardive dyskinesia, here’s a little background:

Tardive dyskinesia is actually something like a severe, often long-lasting side effect to drugs that treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. Imagine that—developing a new, life-altering disease as a result of trying to treat a different one. As of right now, there is no known cure for TD, and unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to even treat.

Knowing all of that, this new information is all that more exciting to hear; at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2017 Annual Meeting, it was announced that a new drug, Austedo, has been proven both significantly effective and safe in the long-term for patients with Tardive Dyskinesia.

The drug, deutetrabenazine, is in the final stages of being approved by the F.D.A., and will hopefully move from the laboratories to the shelves soon after.

In two separate phase III trials, patients who received the active deutetrabenazine drug improved their scores in the AIMS (Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale) as well as overall quality-of-life for up to 54 months.

Researcher from Georgetown University, Dr. Karen E. Anderson notes, “In both studies, we saw significant reduction in tardive dyskinesia starting as early as 2 weeks on the AIMS scale… In clinical practice, if you start patients on this drug, you could potentially see a very early response, which is incredibly encouraging.

Of course, any good thing will come with its bouts of uncertainty and skepticism. Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of psychiatry and professor at Columbia University, says, “I’m immediately suspicious [of the drug],” and goes on to explain that he believes the need for treatment for TD is slowly dissipating: “Wearing hats for men or wearing gloves for women used to be popular. This is like going into the hat or glove business after they’ve become almost [obsolete].”

Nonetheless, many still have high hopes for the new drug as it’s in its final stages of being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Prescription Drug User Fee Act date has been set for August 30, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prioritized review for the drug in February. If this drug is approved, it will be only the second tardive dyskinesia drug approved by the FDA. Clearly, there is a lot more research and development to be made on this frontier, but at least we’re getting closer to an effective treatment.

Want more information on this exciting new development? Read more here!

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