Frequently asked questions for Tetrabenazine
Q. Can Tetrabenazine be crushed?No, Tetrabenazine should not be crushed, cut, or chewed. It needs to be swallowed as a whole. But if you cannot swallow the whole tablet, tell your doctor who will probably prescribe you another medicine.
Q. Is Tetrabenazine an antipsychotic?Tetrabenazine is not an antipsychotic. It belongs to the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) inhibitor class of medicines. It works by changing the activity of some natural substances in the brain that affect muscles and nerves.
Q. What is the most important information that I should know about Tetrabenazine?Tetrabenazine may increase the risk of depression or suicidal thoughts in patients with Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. Therefore, you should not take Tetrabenazine if you have Huntington’s disease along with depression.
Q. What should I avoid while taking Tetrabenazine?Sleepiness is a common side effect of Tetrabenazine. Therefore, you should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery if you feel sleepy while taking Tetrabenazine.
Q. Can I stop taking Tetrabenazine on my own?No, you should not stop taking Tetrabenazine suddenly, without talking to your doctor. Sudden discontinuation of the medicine may cause neuroleptic malignant syndrome. This can be characterized by high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, hallucinations, increased sweating, and very fast or uneven heart beat. Hence, to avoid such side effects your doctor will gradually reduce your dose.
Q. Can I take alcohol while on Tetrabenazine?You should avoid alcohol since it may add to the sleepiness caused by Tetrabenazine. Similarly, you should avoid taking medicines which cause sleepiness. If you are not sure about the effects of the medicine, consult with your doctor.
Q. Does Tetrabenazine affect blood pressure?Yes, Tetrabenazine may affect the blood pressure. In some patients it may decrease the levels of blood pressure. Along with that, one may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting while getting up quickly from a lying position (orthostatic hypotension). To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, rest your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.