Antipsychotic drugs are associated with movement disorders, especially with long-term use. Tardive dyskinesia, a condition characterised by repetitive involuntary muscle activity, is considered to be the most chronic, distressing and disabling of antipsychotic-associated movement disorders. There is theoretical justification for the use of cholinergic drugs in tardive dyskinesia, and they are used in clinical practice. A Cochrane systematic review synthesised randomised controlled trial data evaluating the effectiveness of cholinergic drugs for tardive dyskinesia, and for a range of secondary outcomes, including quality of life. In line with the authors of the review, this Commentary concludes that much higher-quality evidence on the use of cholinergic drugs in tardive dyskinesia is necessary, and that a patient with tardive dyskinesia should be offered the opportunity to try a newer cholinergic drug, ideally in the context of a well-conducted and reported clinical trial. At the same time, given uncertainty regarding clinical effectiveness, and in view of their accepted adverse effects, it would be understandable if a person with tardive dyskinesia decided to avoid cholinergic drugs.
DECLARATION OF INTEREST