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Tardive Dyskinesia Linked With Medical Comorbidity in Veterans

May 21, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO—Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is strongly linked with older age, medical comorbidity, and hospitalizations, according to a study of US veterans with serious mental illness presented during a poster session at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

The retrospective, cross-sectional study included 7985 veterans with schizophrenia/schizoaffective, bipolar, and major depressive disorders who had received antipsychotics for 30 days or more. Researchers compared participants with and without TD to provide a glimpse of associations between the movement disorder and various patient characteristics, comorbidities, and outcomes.

Some 4.16% of the study population had TD, reported poster presenter Stanley N. Caroff, MD, and coauthors E. Cabrina Campbell, Rosalind Berkowitz, and Shirley Leong.

Veterans with TD were more likely to be older, have schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, have higher Charlson Comorbidity Index scores, and have higher medical hospitalization rates. They were less likely, however, to have bipolar disorder, compared with veterans without TD.

Meanwhile, the study found no significant differences between the two groups in gender; race; major depressive or post-traumatic stress disorder diagnoses; receiving 30 or more days of antidepressants, lithium or anticonvulsants; receiving two or more antipsychotics; marital status; homelessness; financial status; mortality; emergency visits; or hospitalizations for substance use or psychiatric disorders.

“Tardive dyskinesia may be a marker for a cluster of variables predictive of serious adverse health outcomes and impairments in quality of life,” researchers concluded. “More assertive screening, monitoring, and treatment of patients at risk of tardive dyskinesia is needed.” 

—Jolynn Tumolo


“Cumulative burden of illness in veterans with serious mental illness and tardive dyskinesia.” Abstract presented at: the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting; May 20, 2019; San Francisco, CA.

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