Skip to Content

Deutetrabenazine

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

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jul 31, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is deutetrabenazine?

Deutetrabenazine reduces the amount of certain chemicals in the body that are overly active in people with Huntington's disease.

Deutetrabenazine 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.

Deutetrabenazine is 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).

Deutetrabenazine is not a permanent cure for involuntary movement disorders.

Deutetrabenazine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

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

Do not use deutetrabenazine 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 deutetrabenazine.

Before taking this medicine

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

Do not use deutetrabenazine 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.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • depression, anxiety, nervousness, or agitation;

  • mental illness or psychosis;

  • suicidal thoughts or actions;

  • breast cancer;

  • a heart rhythm disorder;

  • long QT syndrome (in you or a family member); 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 deutetrabenazine 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 this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

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

How should I take deutetrabenazine?

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.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

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

Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it. 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 deutetrabenazine without first asking your doctor. If you stop taking deutetrabenazine for longer than 1 week, do not start taking it again without your doctor's advice.

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

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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 deutetrabenazine?

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how deutetrabenazine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Deutetrabenazine side effects

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

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: crying spells, changes in weight or appetite, feelings of low self-worth, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, new sleep problems, 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:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);

  • 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 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.

Deutetrabenazine 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

Comments:
-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.

What other drugs will affect deutetrabenazine?

Deutetrabenazine can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.

Using deutetrabenazine with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Many drugs can affect deutetrabenazine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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

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

Hide