Generic Name: tetrabenazine (TET ra BEN a zeen)Brand Names: Xenazine
Tetrabenazine reduces the amount of certain chemicals in the body that are overly active in people with Huntington's disease.
Tetrabenazine is used to treat Huntington's chorea (uncontrolled muscle movements).
Tetrabenazine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before you take tetrabenazine, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome," or a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or actions.Tetrabenazine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
You may feel depressed or have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking this medication. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits during treatment.Stop taking tetrabenazine and call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, confusion, trouble swallowing, uncontrolled muscle movements, extreme drowsiness, or if you feel restless, agitated, hyperactive (mentally or physically), depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
severe or untreated depression;
liver disease; or
past or present breast cancer.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take tetrabenazine:
a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome"; or
a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or actions.
You may feel depressed or have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts while taking tetrabenazine.
Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits while you are taking tetrabenazine.FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether tetrabenazine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether tetrabenazine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.Call your doctor if your chorea symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while taking tetrabenazine.
You may need frequent eye exams while you are taking tetrabenazine. Follow your doctor's instructions.Store tetrabenazine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
See also: Tetrabenazine dosage in more detail
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Overdose symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, confusion, hallucinations, tremors, and restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck.
mood or behavior changes;
extreme drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;
feeling restless, agitated, or hyperactive (mentally or physically);
thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
tremor (uncontrolled shaking);
dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat; or
high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, rapid breathing.
Less serious side effects may include:
sleep problems (insomnia);
mild drowsiness, tired feeling;
breast swelling or discharge.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for Huntington Disease:
Initial dose: 12.5 mg orally 2 to 3 times daily.Maximum dose: 25 mg orally 3 times daily; maximum recommended dose 200 mg daily.The dose may be slowly titrated upwards by 12.5 mg a day every 3 to 5 days until the maximal tolerated and effective dose is achieved.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:
arsenic trioxide (Trisenox);
ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin, Strattera);
an antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), or pentamidine (NebuPent, Pentam);
an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft);
cancer medications such as gefitinib (Iressa), imatinib (Gleevec), or nilotinib (Tasigna);
a heart rhythm medication;
HIV or AIDS medicine such as delavirdine (Rescriptor) or ritonavir (Norvir);
medicine to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting, such as dolasetron (Anzemet), metoclopramide (Reglan), ondansetron (Zofran), or promethazine (Phenergan, Promacot);
medicine to treat psychiatric disorders, such as aripiprazole (Abilify), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (FazaClo, Clozaril), haloperidol (Haldol), perphenazine (Trilafon), thioridazine (Mellaril), ziprasidone (Geodon), and others;
migraine headache medicine such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) or zolmitriptan (Zomig); or
a narcotic such as levomethadyl (Orlaam), methadone (Methadose, Diskets, Dolophine) or propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with tetrabenazine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.