Background: Vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitors including valbenazine are first-line therapies for tardive dyskinesia (TD), a persistent movement disorder associated with antipsychotic exposure. This real-world study was performed to assess the association between patient awareness of TD symptoms and clinician-assessed symptom severity.
Methods: Clinicians who treated antipsychotic-induced TD with a VMAT2 inhibitor within the past 24 months were asked to extract demographic/clinical data from patients‚ charts and complete a survey for additional data, including patient awareness of TD (yes/no) and TD symptom severity (mild/moderate/severe).
Results: Data for 601 patients were provided by 163 clinicians (113 psychiatrists; 46 neurologists; 4 primary care physicians). Patient demographics: 50% male; mean age 50.6 years; 55% schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder; 29% bipolar disorder; 16% other psychiatric diagnoses. Positive relationships were seen between patient awareness and clinician-assessed symptom severity. Awareness was highest in patients with severe symptoms in specific body regions: face (88% vs 78%/69% [awareness by severe vs moderate/mild symptoms]); jaw (90% vs 80%/67%); wrists (90% vs 69%/63%). In other regions, awareness was similar in patients with severe or moderate symptoms: lips (85%/86% vs 68% [severe/moderate vs mild]); tongue (81%/80% vs 73%); neck (80%/78% vs 68%); arms (67%/66% vs 62%); knees (67%/67% vs 53%).
Conclusions: In patients prescribed a VMAT2 inhibitor for TD, patient awareness was generally higher in those determined to have moderate-to-severe symptom severity as assessed by the clinician. More research is needed to understand how awareness and severity contribute to TD burden, and whether different treatment strategies are needed based on these factors.