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Generic Name: deutetrabenazine (doo TET ra BEN a zeen)
Brand Names: Austedo

Medically reviewed on October 4, 2017

What is Austedo?

Austedo (deutetrabenazine) reduces the amount of certain chemicals in the body that are overly active in people with Huntington's disease.

Austedo is used to treat involuntary muscle movements (chorea) caused by Huntington's disease. Deutetrabenazine is not a cure for Huntington's disease and will not treat other symptoms of this condition.

Austedo is also used to treat symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, a nervous system disorder. Tardive dyskinesia causes repetitive uncontrolled muscle movements, usually in the face (chewing, lip smacking, frowning, tongue movement, blinking or eye movement).

This medicine is not a permanent cure for involuntary movement disorders.

Important information

You should not use Austedo if you have liver disease, untreated or uncontrolled depression, or if you have thoughts about suicide.

Do not use this medicine if you have taken reserpine (Serpalan, Renese-R) in the past 20 days, or if you have used an MAO inhibitor (isocarboxazid, linezolid, rasagiline, selegiline, and others) in the past 14 days.

Stay alert to changes in your mood, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Your doctor will need to check your progress while you are using Austedo.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Austedo if you are allergic to deutetrabenazine, or if you have:

  • untreated or uncontrolled depression;

  • thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;

  • liver disease; or

  • if you have recently taken tetrabenazine (Xenazine) or valbenazine (Ingrezza).

Do not use Austedo if you have taken reserpine (Serpalan, Renese-R) in the past 20 days, or if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

To make sure Austedo is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • depression, anxiety, nervousness, or agitation;

  • a history of mental illness or psychosis;

  • suicidal thoughts or actions;

  • breast cancer;

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • a personal or family history of long QT syndrome; or

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood).

People with Huntington's disease may have a higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Taking Austedo may further increase this risk. However, the benefits of taking this medicine (improvement in daily living) may outweigh any suicidal risks.

Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

It is not known whether deutetrabenazine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether deutetrabenazine passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

Austedo is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take Austedo?

Take Austedo exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

If you are switching from a similar medicine called tetrabenazine (Xenazine), take your first dose of deutetrabenazine one day after your last dose of tetrabenazine.

Austedo is usually taken 1 or 2 times per day with food and a whole glass of water.

Do not crush, chew, or break a tablet. Swallow the tablet whole. Tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the tablet whole.

Your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

Do not stop taking this medicine without first asking your doctor.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

If you stop taking Austedo for longer than 1 week, do not start taking it again without your doctor's advice.

Austedo dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Huntington Disease:

-Initial Dose: 6 mg orally once a day
-Maintenance Dose: May increase dose in increments of 6 mg/day at weekly intervals.
-Maximum Dose: 48 mg/day

-Determine the dose for each patient based on chorea reduction and tolerability.
-Administer total daily dosages of 12 mg or more in 2 divided doses.
-May discontinue this drug without tapering.
-Re-titrate dose when resuming this drug following treatment interruption of greater than 1 week; resume treatment at the previous maintenance dose without titration if treatment interruption is less than 1 week.

Use: Treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include tremors or severe muscle stiffness, rapid eye movements, vomiting, sweating, severe drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, diarrhea, or feeling light-headed.

What should I avoid while taking Austedo?

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Austedo side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Austedo: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, crying spells, trouble concentrating, loss of interest in things you enjoyed before, changes in weight or appetite, or if you feel hopeless, guilty, extremely tired, irritable, hostile, aggressive, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Some side effects may actually be signs that your Huntington's disease is progressing. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular intervals.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe restlessness or agitation;

  • tremors, shaking;

  • muscle stiffness;

  • problems with balance or coordination; or

  • severe nervous system reaction - very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.

Common Austedo side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;

  • feeling tired;

  • dry mouth;

  • runny or stuffy nose, sore throat;

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • diarrhea.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Austedo?

Austedo can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time, such as antibiotics, antifungal medicine, antidepressants, anti-malaria medicine, asthma inhalers, antipsychotic medicine, cancer medicine, certain HIV/AIDS medicine, heart or blood pressure medicine, or medicine to prevent vomiting.

Taking Austedo with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with this medicine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Austedo only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.