Tardive dyskinesia: eliminated, forgotten, or overshadowed?

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Purpose of review

The present review focuses on atypical antipsychotics and tardive dyskinesia.

Recent findings

We have known for many years that clozapine has a diminished risk of tardive dyskinesia compared with typical antipsychotics. The last decade has seen the introduction of a number of other atypical antipsychotics, allowing us to begin evaluating whether they too share this attribute. In addition, the opportunity to use these drugs as first-line treatment permits a more precise means of establishing risk. While longer-term data are required, the limited evidence available clearly indicates that the atypical antipsychotics have a decreased liability of tardive dyskinesia, approximately 1% compared with 5% for typical agents annually. Like clozapine, the other atypical antipsychotics also demonstrate antidyskinetic properties in individuals with preexisting tardive dyskinesia. The underlying mechanisms remain unclear, and without such information it is not possible to say what clinical conditions, if any, might diminish or even eliminate these advantages.


An update is provided regarding the atypical antipsychotics and tardive dyskinesia. This information is critical in our decision-making regarding choice of antipsychotic and optimal use in the clinical setting.

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