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HEALTH GUIDE / Prescription Drugs / Antidyskinetics



About antidyskinetics

Antidyskinetics are medications used to relieve or prevent symptoms of impaired muscle control. This may include tics, twitching, jerking and muscle spasms that can be associated with various neurological disorders.

These drugs relax muscle tissue and affect the nerves that control muscle movement. This improves a patient’s muscle control and reduces muscle stiffness.

Antidyskinetics are used to treat the symptoms of certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease. They are also sometimes used to control muscle-associated side effects of a number of medications, including reserpine (high blood pressure medication) and chlorprothixene, haloperidol and loxapine (drugs used to treat emotional, mental and nervous conditions). In addition, antidyskinetics are used to treat dyskinesia brought on by chronic use of levodopa (a drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease).

Antidyskinetics are available in tablet, extended-release capsule and injection form. Examples of these medications include:

Generic NameBrand Name(s)










Artane*, Tremin*

*Discontinued in the United States

Some medications may belong to the antidyskinetics class, although they may be primarily used to treat a different condition. For example, the generic amantadine (brand: Symmetrel) is an antiviral medication used to prevent type A flu infections. However, amantadine is also an antidyskinetic.


Conditions of concern

Patients are urged to tell their physician if they have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. These include any allergies, especially if they have ever experienced an allergic reaction to previous use of antidyskinetics or an allergic reaction to other substances such as foods, preservatives or dyes.

Use of antidyskinetics can make some conditions worse, including:

  • Difficultly with urination
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart or blood vessel disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Myasthenia gravis

In some cases, the use of antidyskinetics can cause uncontrolled movements of hands, mouth or tongue to worsen.

In addition, patients with kidney disease or liver disease generally maintain elevated levels of antidyskinetics in the body, increasing the risk of side effects from higher blood concentrations of these medications.

Side effects

Potential side effects of antidyskinetics

Some people who take antidyskinetic medications will find that their eyes experience increased sensitivity to light. Avoiding bright light and wearing sunglasses can help reduce this sensitivity.

Patients who take these drugs can experience decreased sweating, which can cause the body temperature to rise. For this reason, patients are urged to take special care when exercising or when out in hot weather so that they prevent overheating and heat stroke. Hot baths and saunas also should be avoided.

Other side effects associated with antidyskinetics include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of alertness

People are urged to avoid taking antidyskinetics before certain activities (e.g., driving, using machinery) unless they know how these drugs are likely to affect them.

Some patients experience side effects when they quit using antidyskinetics. These can include anxiety, difficulty speaking or swallowing, dizziness or lightheadedness, muscle spasms and others. A patient who is scheduled to stop taking antidyskinetics is advised to consult with his or her physician about the best way to prevent these side effects. Side effects should be reported to a physician as they occur.


Drug or other interactions

Patients should consult their physicians before taking any additional prescription or over-the-counter medications, nutritional supplements or herbal medications.

Drugs that may interact poorly when taken with antidyskinetics include:

  • Prokinetics (medications that stimulate contractions of the stomach muscles). These medications may counteract the effects of antidyskinetics.
  • Antiarrhythmics (medications that help regulate heart rate). They can also block the effects of antidyskinetics.
  • Central nervous system depressants (e.g., antihistamines, tranquilizers, alcohol). Antidyskinetics will exacerbate the effects of these depressants. In some cases, the use of these drugs along with antidyskinetics can be recommended, although a physician may wish to adjust dosage levels or might recommend other precautions that are necessary.
  • Anticholinergics, tricyclic antidepressants. Taking these drugs along with antidyskinetics can increase the likelihood of adverse side effects. In some cases, the use of these drugs along with antidyskinetics may be recommended, although a physician can adjust dosage levels or might recommend other precautions that become necessary.

Patients are urged not to take an antidyskinetic within one hour of taking medication for diarrhea, as this is more likely to reduce the effectiveness of the antidyskinetic.

How to use

Pregnancy use issues

Formal studies have not been conducted regarding the effect of antidyskinetics when used by pregnant women. To date, there have been few reports of problems in women who use antidyskinetics. It is not known whether these medications pass into breast milk. However, it is possible that because antidyskinetics decrease secretions in the body, they may hinder the flow of breast milk.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised not to use antidyskinetics without a physician’s approval.

Child use issues

Children may be more sensitive to the effects of antidyskinetics and may be more likely than adults to experience side effects. For this reason, parents are urged to consult with a physician about whether or not the benefits of antidyskinetics outweigh the potential risks.

Elderly use issues

Elderly patients are more likely to show greater sensitivity to the effects of antidyskinetics than younger adults. Side effects that are more likely to appear in older adults include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Mental changes

For this reason, elderly patients are urged to consult with a physician about whether or not the benefits of antidyskinetics outweigh the potential risks.

Symptoms of antidyskinetic overdose

Patients exhibiting any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Clumsiness or unsteadiness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Seizures
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Severe dryness of mouth, nose and throat
  • Sleep problems
  • Unusual warmth, dryness and flushing of skin

Questions for your doctor

Patients may wish to ask their doctor the following questions related to antidyskinetics:
  1. Why do you suggest I take antidyskinetics to treat my condition?
  2. What are the alternative treatments available to me?
  3. Which antidyskinetic do you believe would be most effective for me?
  4. What are the side effects associated with this drug?
  5. Will I have to stop taking other medications while I am on this drug?
  6. How soon after I start taking this drug should I begin to notice improvement?
  7. How long will I be required to take this medication?
  8. What should I do if I miss a dose of my drug?
  9. If the drug is not effective, can I try another antidyskinetic?
  10. Is this drug safe for me if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
  11. Is this drug safe for my child/elderly parent?

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