Description: Tetrabenazine controls movement disorders and depletes nerve endings of dopamine in the brain.


Absorption: Poorly and erratically absorbed from the GIT (oral).

Metabolism: Extensive hepatic first-pass metabolism reduced to hydroxytetrabenazine.

Excretion: Via urine (as metabolites).

Tetrabenazine is a monoamine depletor used to decrease the uncontrollable movements (chorea) caused by Huntington’s disease. However, it is not a cure for the disease. This medication is thought to work by decreasing the amount of certain natural substances in the brain (monoamines such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), which are involved with nerve and muscle function.

How to use tetrabenazine

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using tetrabenazine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once a day in the morning when you first start treatment or as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may gradually increase your dose to 2 or 3 times a day over several weeks. A slow increase in your dose will help your doctor find the best dose for you while keeping side effects as low as possible.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may perform a blood test to see how your body handles this medication and to help determine the right dose for you. Do not take more of this medication than prescribed because doing so may increase your risk of side effects.

Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.

If you stop taking this drug for several days, then start taking it again, you may need to slowly increase your dose until you reach the regular dose you had been taking. Follow your doctor’s directions on how to restart treatment.

Tell your doctor if your uncontrolled movements do not improve or if they worsen.

Tetrabenazine can sometimes increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts.

Not available.


  • Allergic reaction to this medication
  • Patients with liver problems, depression that is untreated or not responding to treatment, or thoughts of suicide
  • Patients with medical history of breast cancer
  • affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation)
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy
  • Older adults may be more sensitive to QT prolongation
  • This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding

Consult your doctor regarding the precautions mentioned above.


This drug should not be used with levodopa or reserpine because very serious interactions may occur.

Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.

Many drugs besides tetrabenazine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including:

  • Amiodarone
  • Dofetilide
  • Pimozide
  • Procainamide
  • Quinidine
  • Sotalol
  • Thioridazine
  • Macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin)

Other medications may affect how tetrabenazine works, such as Quinidine or SSRI antidepressants (e.g. fluoxetine and paroxetine).

This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.


If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: muscle stiffness/pain, fixed upward position of the eyeballs, sweating, dizziness, severe drowsiness.


Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory and/or medical tests may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.


Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.


There are no brands containing this molecule.

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