Austedo is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved to treat the following conditions in adults:

  • Tardive dyskinesia. With tardive dyskinesia, you have involuntary, repetitive movements, especially in your face. This condition is related to using certain medications that affect chemicals in your brain.
  • Chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. With chorea, you have involuntary jerking or twitching movements. Sometimes chorea is caused by Huntington’s disease, which is a genetic condition that affects nerves in your brain.

Austedo comes as tablets that are taken by mouth, either once or twice daily. It’s available in three strengths: 6 mg, 9 mg, and 12 mg.

Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors. Austedo works by reducing the level of dopamine, a brain chemical, in your body. (Dopamine levels are elevated in people with the conditions that Austedo is used to treat.)

FDA approval

In 2017, Austedo was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It was the first drug approved to treat both tardive dyskinesia and chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease.

Effectiveness

In clinical studies, Austedo was effective in treating both tardive dyskinesia and chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. For information about Austedo’s effectiveness in treating these conditions, see the section “Austedo uses” below.

Austedo is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form. (A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.)

Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine.

The Austedo dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Austedo to treat
  • how well your body responds to Austedo
  • if you have any side effects from Austedo
  • other medications you may be taking
  • if you’re switching to Austedo from a different medication

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Austedo comes as tablets that are taken by mouth. It’s available in three strengths: 6 mg, 9 mg, and 12 mg.

Dosage for tardive dyskinesia

When treating tardive dyskinesia, you’ll typically start taking 6 mg of Austedo twice daily. (This gives a total daily dose of 12 mg of Austedo.) Then your doctor will increase your dosage depending on how well your condition is improving with treatment. Your Austedo dosage will also depend on whether you’re having side effects from the drug.

Dosage for chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease

When treating chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease, you’ll typically start taking 6 mg of Austedo once daily. Then your doctor will increase your dosage depending on how well your condition is improving with treatment. Your Austedo dosage will also depend on whether you’re having side effects from the drug.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Austedo, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. If that’s the case, just skip the missed dose and take your next regularly scheduled dose. Don’t take more than one dose of Austedo at a time.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Austedo is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Austedo is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Austedo can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Austedo. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Austedo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs they have approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Austedo, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Austedo can include:*

  • feeling sleepy or drowsy
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • the common cold
  • trouble sleeping

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Austedo. To learn about less common mild side effects, visit Austedo’s Medication Guide or talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Austedo aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • QT prolongation (long QT syndrome), which is a type of abnormal heart rhythm that can be very dangerous. Symptoms may include:
    • fainting
    • seizures
    • feeling fluttering in your chest
  • Increased level of prolactin, which is a hormone that stimulates your body to make breast milk.* Symptoms may include:
    • irregular periods
    • loss of libido
    • breast pain
    • infertility
  • Feeling restless or being unable to stay still.

* This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials of Austedo, but it has occurred with drugs that are very similar to Austedo. Because of this, the manufacturer of Austedo lists it as a precaution for this drug.

Other serious side effects, which are explained in more detail below in “Side effect details,” include:

* Austedo has a boxed warning from the FDA regarding the risk of depression and thoughts of suicide in people with Huntington’s disease. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Austedo. But it’s not known for sure how many people using Austedo have had an allergic reaction to the drug.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Austedo. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a condition that can occur when you’re using drugs that reduce dopamine levels in your body. (Dopamine is a brain chemical.) Symptoms of NMS can include:

  • high fever
  • trouble thinking clearly
  • increased sweating
  • stiff muscles
  • very fast or irregular heartbeat

In clinical studies, no one taking Austedo had NMS. However, this condition has been reported in people taking medications that are similar to Austedo.

If you have any symptoms of NMS while you’re taking Austedo, call your doctor right away. But if your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911. This condition is a medical emergency, and it needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Parkinsonism

Austedo may cause parkinsonism* in some people. With parkinsonism, you have symptoms that are similar to those caused by Parkinson’s disease. These symptoms include:

  • mild shakiness (tremor)
  • body stiffness (rigidity)
  • trouble moving or keeping your balance
  • falling

It’s not known for sure how many people taking Austedo have had parkinsonism. But this side effect has occurred in some people using the drug. In most cases, this happens within the first 2 weeks after starting Austedo, or after increasing the dose.

If you have symptoms of parkinsonism while you’re taking Austedo, talk with your doctor. They can recommend whether you need medical treatment.

* It’s important to note that parkinsonism is also a possible symptom of Huntington’s disease, which is a condition that Austedo is used to help manage. (Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that affects nerves in your brain.)

Sedation and fatigue

It’s possible to feel sedated (very sleepy) or fatigued (lacking energy) when you’re taking Austedo.

For example, in clinical studies, 11% of people taking Austedo had sedation. In comparison, 4% of people taking a placebo (no active drug) had this side effect. In the same studies, 9% of people taking Austedo were fatigued. In comparison, 4% of people taking a placebo had fatigue.

Sedation and fatigue are often the side effects of Austedo that prevent your doctor from increasing your dosage of the drug.

While you’re taking Austedo, make sure you don’t drive or use machinery until you know how the drug affects you. And if you feel sedated or very tired during Austedo treatment, talk with your doctor about ways to improve your energy levels.

Depression and thoughts of suicide

Austedo may increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and actions in people with Huntington’s disease. (Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that affects nerves in your brain.) It’s important to note that people with Huntington’s disease already have an increased risk of depression.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires Austedo to have a boxed warning for increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts or actions. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA can require. It alerts patients and doctors about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In clinical studies, 2% of people who took Austedo had thoughts of suicide. In comparison, no one who took a placebo (no active drug) had thoughts of suicide. Also, in clinical studies, 4% of people who took Austedo had depression. But it’s not clear how many people who took a placebo had depression.

Because of these risks, you shouldn’t take Austedo if you have depression that’s not fully treated or if you’re thinking about attempting suicide.

If you have any changes in your mood, behavior, or thoughts while you’re taking Austedo, tell your doctor right away. These symptoms could mean that you have depression. If you develop depression or you have thoughts of suicide while using Austedo, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can call 800-799-4889.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Austedo, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed below are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for tardive dyskinesia

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat tardive dyskinesia include:

Alternatives for chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease include:

You may wonder how Austedo compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Austedo and Ingrezza are alike and different.

Ingredients

Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine, while Ingrezza contains the active drug valbenazine. Both medications belong to a class of drugs called selective vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors.

Uses

Both Austedo and Ingrezza are approved to treat tardive dyskinesia in adults. With tardive dyskinesia, you have involuntary, repetitive movements, especially in your face. This condition is related to using certain medications that affect chemicals in your brain.

In addition, Austedo is also approved to treat chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. (With chorea, you have jerking or twitching movements that are involuntary.)

Drug forms and administration

Austedo comes as tablets that are taken by mouth, either once or twice daily.

Ingrezza comes as capsules that are taken by mouth once daily.

Side effects and risks

Austedo and Ingrezza both contain active drugs that belong to the same class of drugs. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with each drug, or with both Austedo and Ingrezza (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Austedo:
    • diarrhea
    • the common cold
    • trouble sleeping
  • Can occur with Ingrezza:
    • changes in balance or problems keeping your balance
    • headache
    • constipation
    • blurry vision
  • Can occur with both Austedo and Ingrezza:
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
    • feeling sleepy or drowsy
    • dry mouth

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Austedo, with Ingrezza, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Austedo has a boxed warning from the FDA regarding the risk of depression and thoughts of suicide in people with Huntington’s disease. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Effectiveness

Austedo and Ingrezza have different approved uses, but they’re both used to treat tardive dyskinesia in adults.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Austedo and Ingrezza to be effective for treating tardive dyskinesia.

Costs

Austedo and Ingrezza are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Ingrezza generally costs more than Austedo does. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your prescribed dosage, your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Like Ingrezza (discussed above), other medications are also prescribed for uses similar to those of Austedo. Here we look at how Austedo and Xenazine are alike and different.

Ingredients

Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine, while Xenazine contains the active drug tetrabenazine. Both medications belong to a class of drugs called selective vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors.

Uses

Both Austedo and Xenazine are approved for use in adults to treat chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. With chorea, you have jerking or twitching movements that are involuntary. These movements can be caused by Huntington’s disease, which is a condition that affects nerves in your brain.

In addition, Austedo is also approved to treat tardive dyskinesia in adults. (With tardive dyskinesia, you have involuntary, repetitive movements, especially in your face.)

Drug forms and administration

Austedo comes as tablets that are taken by mouth, either once or twice daily.

Xenazine also comes as tablets that are taken by mouth. It can be taken up to three times daily.

Side effects and risks

Austedo and Xenazine both contain active drugs that belong to the same class of drugs. Therefore, these medications can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with each drug, or with both Austedo and Xenazine (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Austedo:
    • diarrhea
    • dry mouth
    • the common cold
  • Can occur with Xenazine:
    • anxiety
    • nausea
  • Can occur with both Austedo and Xenazine:
    • feeling sleepy or drowsy
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
    • trouble sleeping

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Austedo, with Xenazine, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

* Austedo and Xenazine each have a boxed warning from the FDA regarding the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts or actions in people with Huntington’s disease. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Effectiveness

Austedo and Xenazine have different approved uses, but they’re both used in adults to treat chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease.

These drugs haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. But separate studies have found both Austedo and Xenazine to be effective for treating chorea related to Huntington’s disease.

Costs

Austedo and Xenazine are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Austedo generally costs much more than Xenazine costs. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Austedo to treat certain conditions. Austedo may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Austedo for tardive dyskinesia

Austedo is FDA-approved to treat tardive dyskinesia in adults. With this condition, you have involuntary, repetitive movements. These movements usually occur in your face, neck, and tongue. But the movements can also happen in your arms, legs, or other parts of your body.

Tardive dyskinesia is caused by using certain medications that block receptors (attachment sites) for the brain chemical dopamine. This causes dopamine to build up to abnormally high levels around certain nerves in your body.

Examples of medications that may lead to tardive dyskinesia include:

  • drugs used to treat mood disorders, including schizophrenia or depression, such as:
    • haloperidol (Haldol)
    • chlorpromazine
  • drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, such as levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet)
  • drugs used to treat seizures, such as:
    • phenobarbital
  • metoclopramide (Reglan), which is a drug that’s commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting, and certain other stomach problems

Austedo works to treat tardive dyskinesia by reducing dopamine levels and stopping dopamine from stimulating certain nerves in your brain.

Effectiveness for tardive dyskinesia

In clinical studies, Austedo was effective in treating tardive dyskinesia.

One clinical study looked at people with tardive dyskinesia that was caused as a side effect of certain other medications. Some people were given Austedo, at varying doses, while other people were given a placebo (no active drug).

The people’s movements related to tardive dyskinesia were measured using the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS). This scale measures movements in different areas of the body and also measures the severity of the movements. Higher AIMS scores indicate more abnormal movements than lower scores indicate.

Before treatment was started, AIMS scores were measured in people taking Austedo at varying doses, and in people taking the placebo. The average AIMS scores in these different groups of people ranged from 9.4 to 10.1.

After 12 weeks of treatment, AIMS scores were evaluated in both groups of people. For people who took Austedo, their AIMS score was lowered by an average of 2.1 to 3.3 points. In comparison, for people who took the placebo, their AIMS score was lowered by an average of 1.4 to 1.6 points.

Austedo for chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease

Austedo is also FDA-approved for use in adults with chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. With chorea, you have involuntary, jerking movements that usually occur in your shoulders, hips, and face.

These movements can be caused by Huntington’s disease, which is a genetic disease that causes nerve cells in your brain to break down. The disease can affect the function of your brain, as well as your ability to control movements.

Chorea may be caused by a buildup of the brain chemical dopamine around certain nerves in your body. Austedo works to treat chorea by reducing dopamine levels and stopping dopamine from stimulating certain nerves in your brain.

Effectiveness for chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease

In clinical studies, Austedo was effective in treating chorea related to Huntington’s disease.

In one 12-week study, people with chorea related to Huntington’s disease were given either Austedo or a placebo (no active drug). Researchers measured people’s chorea symptoms using the Total Maximal Chorea Score. This score is part of a rating scale called the Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale. On this scale, higher scores indicate more severe chorea symptoms than lower scores indicate.

After 12 weeks of treatment, people who took Austedo had their symptom scores lowered by 4.4 points. In comparison, people taking the placebo had their symptom scores lowered by 1.9 points.

In addition, about 50% of people treated with Austedo said that their symptoms had “much” or “very much” improved. And 20% of people who took the placebo said the same.

Austedo for other conditions

In addition to the uses listed above, you may wonder if Austedo is used for certain other conditions. Below is information on use for Austedo that’s currently being studied.

Austedo for Tourette’s syndrome (under study)

Austedo isn’t FDA-approved to treat Tourette’s syndrome. But there are studies being done to look at using the drug for this condition.

Tourette syndrome is a brain disorder that has an unknown cause. With this condition, you have involuntary movements and vocal tics. (Vocal tics are sounds that you make unintentionally.)

The cause of Tourette syndrome isn’t known, so it’s difficult to treat the condition.

One 2016 study looked at using deutetrabenazine, the active drug in Austedo, to treat tics related to Tourette syndrome. The study showed that when the drug was taken for 8 weeks, both the number and severity of people’s tics were reduced.

In addition, deutetrabenazine is currently being studied in children and teenagers with Tourette syndrome. Two similar studies just recently ended. One of these studies lasted 8 weeks, while the other lasted 12 weeks. But the results of these studies aren’t yet available.

If you’d like to know more about using Austedo for Tourette syndrome, talk with your doctor.

You should take Austedo according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

When to take

Austedo tablets should be taken by mouth, either once or twice daily.

The number of times each day you’ll take the medication depends on what condition you’re taking it to treat. Austedo dosages vary as follows:

  • If you’re taking Austedo to treat tardive dyskinesia, you’ll likely take your dose twice each day.
  • If you’re taking Austedo to treat chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease, you’ll likely take your dose once or twice each day.

If you’re taking Austedo twice each day, try to take your doses about 12 hours apart. To do this, you could take your first dose in the morning and your second dose in the evening.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. A medication timer may be useful, too.

Taking Austedo with food

You should take Austedo with food.

Can Austedo be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, you shouldn’t crush, chew, or break Austedo tablets. You should swallow them whole.

Austedo is approved to treat involuntary movements caused by:

The involuntary movements caused by these conditions occur when there’s a buildup of the brain chemical dopamine around certain nerves in your body. For more information on these conditions, see the section “Austedo uses” above.

Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors. Austedo works to reduce both chorea and tardive dyskinesia symptoms by reducing the level of dopamine in your body. This stops dopamine from stimulating certain nerves and causing involuntary movements.

How long does it take to work?

You may notice Austedo starting to work for you after a few weeks of taking the drug.

In clinical studies, Austedo’s effectiveness in reducing involuntary movements caused by either chorea or tardive dyskinesia was measured using certain scoring systems. The scores took into account involuntary movements that occurred in people’s faces or other areas of their bodies.

People’s movements were measured 2 weeks after their first dose of Austedo. These scores were compared to scores that were recorded before treatment was started. After just 2 weeks of treatment, people’s symptom scores were already lowered.

And by the end of each 12-week study, people’s symptom scores were lowered even further as their dosage of Austedo was increased.

Drinking alcohol while you’re using Austedo may increase your risk of feeling sleepy or drowsy. (These are also side effects caused by Austedo.) Because of this risk, you shouldn’t drink alcohol during treatment with Austedo.

If you have questions about the safety of drinking alcohol while using Austedo, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Austedo can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Austedo and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Austedo. These lists don’t contain all the drugs that may interact with Austedo.

Before taking Austedo, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Austedo and certain mood disorder drugs

Some drugs used to treat mood disorders can interact with Austedo. These interactions are described below. If you’re taking any of the drugs listed below, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting Austedo.

Austedo and MAOIs

You should not use Austedo with drugs that belong to a class called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are used to treat certain mood disorders, including depression.

Examples of MAOIs include:

  • rasagiline (Azilect)
  • selegiline (Zelapar)
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

If you take Austedo and an MAOI together, you may have dangerously high blood pressure.

If you have taken or are currently taking an MAOI, make sure you wait at least 14 days before you start taking Austedo.

Austedo and mood disorder drugs that increase Austedo levels in your body

Some drugs that are used for mood disorders can increase the level of Austedo in your body. This may increase your risk of side effects from Austedo. Examples of these drugs include:

If you’re taking one of the drugs listed above, your doctor may lower your dosage of Austedo to help you avoid increased side effects from Austedo.

Austedo and mood disorder drugs called dopamine antagonists or antipsychotics

Some drugs used for mood disorders that are called either dopamine antagonists or antipsychotics may interact with Austedo. (Dopamine antagonists block the activity of dopamine, which is a chemical in your brain.)

Examples of these mood disorder drugs include:

  • chlorpromazine
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • thioridazine
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)

Some of these drugs may interfere with your heart’s electrical activity. Austedo also may affect your heart’s electrical activity. Taking these drugs with Austedo can increase your risk of QT prolongation (long QT syndrome). (QT prolongation is type of abnormal heart rhythm that can be dangerous.)

In addition, some of these drugs may increase the risk of feeling restless or being unable to stay still. The drugs may also increase the risk of parkinsonism* and neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).** These risks are also increased by Austedo. Taking these drugs with Austedo may increase these side effects.

If you’re taking one of the drugs listed above, your doctor may lower your dosage of Austedo to help you avoid prolonged QT interval and restlessness.

* With parkinsonism, you have movement-related symptoms that are similar to those caused by Parkinson’s disease.

** NMS is a condition that can occur when you’re using drugs that reduce dopamine levels in your body. (Dopamine is a brain chemical.)

Austedo and certain antibiotics

Some antibiotics may interfere with your heart’s electrical activity. Austedo also may affect with your heart’s electrical activity. Taking these drugs together can increase your risk of QT prolongation (long QT syndrome). (QT prolongation is type of abnormal heart rhythm that can be dangerous.)

Examples of antibiotics that may affect your heart’s electrical activity include:

If you’re taking any of the antibiotics listed above, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting Austedo.

Austedo and certain heart medications

Some drugs that are used to treat certain heart conditions may interfere with your heart’s electrical activity. Austedo also may affect with your heart’s electrical activity. Taking these drugs together may increase your risk of QT prolongation (long QT syndrome). (QT prolongation is type of abnormal heart rhythm that can be dangerous.)

Examples of certain heart medications that may affect your heart’s electrical activity include:

  • amiodarone
  • sotalol (Betapace)
  • quinidine
  • procainamide

If you’re taking any of the drugs listed above, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting Austedo.

Austedo and reserpine

You shouldn’t take the drug reserpine while you’re using Austedo. (Reserpine is used to control blood pressure in some people.) Taking these drugs together will cause Austedo not to work. This may lead to your doctor recommending a dosage of Austedo that’s too high for you.

If you’ve taken or are currently taking reserpine, make sure you wait at least 20 days after your last dose before starting Austedo.

Austedo and other drugs that are used for chorea or tardive dyskinesia

You shouldn’t take Austedo with other drugs that both:

These drugs include tetrabenazine (Xenazine) and valbenazine (Ingrezza).

If you’re taking either of the drugs listed above, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting Austedo.

Austedo and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Austedo. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Austedo.

Austedo and foods

There aren’t any foods that have specifically been reported to interact with Austedo.

As with all medications, the cost of Austedo can vary.

The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Your insurance plan may require you to get prior authorization before approving coverage for Austedo. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the request and let you and your doctor know if your plan will cover Austedo.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Austedo, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Austedo, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Teva, the manufacturer of Austedo, offers a program called Shared Solutions, which provides information on cost assistance for Austedo.

For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 800-887-8100. You can also visit the program website for people with tardive dyskinesia or the program website for people with chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease.

Generic version

Austedo isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

There’s not enough information available to know whether it’s safe to use Austedo during pregnancy. In fact, there haven’t been any studies done in pregnant women taking this drug.

In animal studies, Austedo increased the risk of stillbirth and infant deaths in fetuses exposed to the drug. But keep in mind that animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in people.

If you’re pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about taking Austedo. They can discuss with you other treatment options that may be safer when used during pregnancy.

It’s not known if Austedo is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Austedo.

It’s not known if it’s safe to take Austedo while you’re breastfeeding. There haven’t been any studies done in lactating women using this drug. And there also haven’t been any studies done in lactating animals. Because of this, it’s not known if Austedo passes into breast milk or what effect the drug may have on a child who’s breastfed.

If you’re breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before taking Austedo. They can recommend other treatment options that may be safer to use while you’re breastfeeding. Or they may recommend safe and healthy alternatives for feeding your child.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Austedo.

Will Austedo cure my condition?

No, Austedo is approved to treat two conditions, but it won’t cure them. These conditions are:

  • Chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease. With chorea you have jerking or twitching movements that are involuntary. This condition is a symptom of Huntington’s disease, which is a genetic disease that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in your brain. Chorea may be caused by a buildup of the brain chemical dopamine around certain nerves in your body.
  • Tardive dyskinesia. With this condition, you have involuntary, repetitive movements, especially in your face. Tardive dyskinesia is related to using certain medications that block dopamine receptors (attachment sites). This leads to dopamine building up around certain nerves in your body.

Austedo works to treat these conditions by reducing the level of dopamine in your body. This stops dopamine from stimulating certain nerves and causing involuntary movements.

So while Austedo will improve chorea and tardive dyskinesia symptoms, the drug doesn’t cure the root cause of these conditions. To learn more about the cause of tardive dyskinesia and chorea that’s related to Huntington’s disease, see the section “Austedo uses” above.

If you have questions about what you can expect from treatment with Austedo, talk with your doctor.

If I’m taking an antipsychotic, can I keep taking it while I’m using Austedo?

It depends on which antipsychotic you’re taking.

You shouldn’t use Austedo with drugs that belong to a class called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are used for certain mood disorders. If taken together, the drugs may cause severe high blood pressure, which can be dangerous.

Examples of MAOIs include:

  • rasagiline (Azilect)
  • selegiline (Zelapar)
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

If you’re taking or have taken an MAOI, make sure at least 14 days have passed before you start taking Austedo.

In addition, certain antipsychotic drugs can’t be taken with Austedo because doing so may cause some dangerous side effects. These side effects include conditions such as QT prolongation (long QT syndrome). QT prolongation is a type of irregular heart rhythm.

Examples of antipsychotics that can increase the risk of QT prolongation if taken with Austedo include:

In addition, other drugs used to treat mood disorders that may also increase the risk of QT prolongation if taken with Austedo include:

For information about other drugs that may not be safe to use with Austedo, see the section “Austedo interactions” above. And be sure to talk with your doctor about all medications you’re using before you start taking Austedo. They can recommend whether it’s safe to use Austedo with certain other drugs.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking Austedo?

No, you won’t have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Austedo. However, the condition that you were using Austedo to treat may return. If that happens, you may have increased symptoms of that condition.

Is it safe for older people to take Austedo?

It’s not known for sure if Austedo is safe for older people to take. This is because clinical studies that looked at the safety and effectiveness of Austedo didn’t include very many people who were ages 65 years and older. Because of this, it’s not clear if Austedo is safe for use by most older people.

If you’re age 65 years or older and you’d like to use Austedo, talk with your doctor. If they recommend that you use Austedo, they’ll likely have you start taking a very low dosage. This helps them to make sure that you’re doing well on the drug before they increase your dosage.

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Risk of depression and suicide

This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Austedo can increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts or actions in people with Huntington’s disease. (Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that affects nerves in your brain.) This risk is increased in people who have a history of depression and in people who’ve attempted suicide in the past. Because of these risks, you shouldn’t take Austedo if you have depression that’s not fully treated or if you’re thinking about attempting suicide.

Other precautions

Before taking Austedo, talk with your doctor about your health history. Austedo may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • QT prolongation. Austedo may affect your heart’s electrical signaling and cause a condition called QT prolongation (long QT syndrome). This condition can cause an irregular heart rhythm. If you already have certain heart problems, such as an irregular heart rhythm, Austedo may worsen your condition. In addition, taking certain medications with Austedo may also cause new or worsening problems with your heart rhythm. Long QT syndrome often doesn’t have any symptoms, but sometimes it can be very dangerous. Your doctor will monitor your heart’s electrical activity during Austedo treatment if you have a history of long QT syndrome or if you have symptoms of an irregular heart rhythm.
  • Pregnancy. There’s not enough information available to know whether it’s safe to use Austedo during pregnancy. For more information, please see the section “Austedo and pregnancy” above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Austedo is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, please see the section “Austedo and breastfeeding” above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Austedo, see the section “Austedo side effects” above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Austedo can lead to serious side effects. Don’t use more Austedo than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • involuntary muscle spasms
  • your eyes rolling upward and back
  • sweating
  • tiredness
  • low blood pressure
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there)
  • tremors
  • skin redness

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or visit their website. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Austedo from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Austedo tablets should be stored at room temperature (77°F/25°C) in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as in bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Austedo and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Austedo is indicated for use in adults with chorea that is secondary to Huntington’s disease. The drug is also indicated for use in adults with tardive dyskinesia.

Mechanism of action

The exact mechanism of action of Austedo has not been elucidated. Austedo contains the active drug deutetrabenazine, which is a selective vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitor. It is thought to reduce monoamine buildup in nerve terminals. The targeted monoamine in the treatment of chorea and tardive dyskinesia is dopamine; however, deutetrabenazine also works to lower serotonin, norepinephrine, and histamine levels.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Following oral administration of deutetrabenazine, serum concentrations are virtually undetectable due to extensive hepatic metabolism. Active metabolites reach their peak concentrations within 3 to 4 hours after oral dosing. The half-life of the active metabolites is approximately 9 to 10 hours.

Administration with food will increase the bioavailability of Austedo by approximately 50%. Austedo is primarily excreted renally.

Contraindications

Austedo is contraindicated in people with Huntington’s disease who are suicidal or who have untreated or inadequately treated depression. The drug is also contraindicated in people with hepatic impairment.

In addition, Austedo should not be given to people who are taking either a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), reserpine, tetrabenazine (Xenazine), or valbenazine (Ingrezza).

Storage

Store Austedo at room temperature (77°F/25°C) away from light and moisture. Temperature excursions of 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C) are permitted.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.