Generic Name: Tetrabenazine (tet ra BEN a zeen)
Brand Name: Xenazine
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 4, 2020.
- This medicine may raise the chance of depression and suicidal thoughts or actions in people with Huntington's disease. If you have ever had depression or suicidal thoughts or actions, talk with your doctor. This medicine may not be right for you. People who take tetrabenazine must be watched closely. Call your doctor right away if you have signs like depression, nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or any other changes in feelings, mood, or behavior. Call your doctor right away if you have any thoughts or actions of suicide.
Uses of Tetrabenazine:
- It is used to treat disabling involuntary movements in Huntington's chorea.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Tetrabenazine?
- If you have an allergy to tetrabenazine or any other part of tetrabenazine.
- If you are allergic to tetrabenazine; any part of tetrabenazine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have taken certain drugs for depression or Parkinson's disease in the last 14 days. This includes isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, selegiline, or rasagiline. Very high blood pressure may happen.
- If you have liver disease.
- If you have ever had a long QT on ECG or other heartbeat that is not normal.
- If you are taking reserpine or have taken it within the last 20 days.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Deutetrabenazine or valbenazine.
- If you are taking any drugs that can cause a certain type of heartbeat that is not normal (prolonged QT interval). There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with tetrabenazine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take tetrabenazine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Tetrabenazine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take tetrabenazine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how tetrabenazine affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Check your blood pressure as you have been told.
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
- If you have Huntington's disease, your signs can still get worse while you use drugs like this one. Call your doctor right away if you have any signs that are new or worse.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
How is this medicine (Tetrabenazine) best taken?
Use tetrabenazine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food.
- Keep taking tetrabenazine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you miss more than 5 days of taking tetrabenazine. Talk with your doctor.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Trouble controlling body movements that is new or worse.
- Change in balance.
- Shakiness, trouble moving around, or stiffness.
- Feeling very sleepy.
- Feeling agitated.
- Feeling confused.
- Dizziness or passing out.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Change in eyesight.
- Nipple discharge.
- Enlarged breasts.
- Not able to get or keep an erection.
- For women, no period.
- A very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) may happen. Call your doctor right away if you have any fever, muscle cramps or stiffness, dizziness, very bad headache, confusion, change in thinking, fast heartbeat, heartbeat that does not feel normal, or are sweating a lot.
- A type of abnormal heartbeat (prolonged QT interval) can happen with tetrabenazine. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, or if you pass out.
What are some other side effects of Tetrabenazine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling sleepy.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Signs of a common cold.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Tetrabenazine?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time tetrabenazine is refilled. If you have any questions about tetrabenazine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: VMAT2 inhibitors
Other brands: Xenazine