A new retrospective study found evidence which suggests that the β–adrenergic blocker propranolol, may be an effective treatment for tardive dyskinesia (TD), for which there are no current approved treatments.
A retrospective search of the Emory movement disorder clinic database for TD patients was conducted by the researchers from the University. They sought patients who had their neuroleptic treatment discontinued and had a diagnosis of TD for 17 months before propranolol treatment was initiated.
Their search identified 47 patients with a mean age of 63 years. Based on a 0 to 3 scale (0=none, 1=mild, 2=moderate, and 3=severe) the mean severity of TD for the patients was 2.2. After an average duration of propranolol therapy of 14 months, response rates were positive.
Using a 0 to 3 response scale (0=no response, 1=mild response, 2=moderate response, and 3=complete or near-complete response), the mean response rate was 1.4. Sixty-four percent and 77% of those had a moderate to complete or near-complete response. The average daily dosage of propranolol was 69mg; TD severity and duration of therapy were associated with response.
No current treatment exists for TD, which can result from long-term use of neuroleptic drugs. The findings from this retrospective study suggest that low dose propranolol may be well tolerated and efficacious in treating TD. The authors assert that these results warrant a prospective randomized trial.
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