Does Fluvoxamine cause tardive dyskinesia? (3 strategies)

In this article, we will discuss whether Fluvoxamine can cause tardive dyskinesia. We will also discuss some research studies and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Fluvoxamine cause tardive dyskinesia?

Fluvoxamine does not necessarily cause tardive dyskinesia. It is most commonly associated with antipsychotic medications, particularly those that block dopamine receptors.

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, primarily used in the management of depressive disorders (1). SSRIs are not typically associated with tardive dyskinesia.

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), tardive dyskinesia is defined as a persistent medication-induced movement disorder lasting for a month or more, even after adjusting or stopping the use of medications (2). 

However, individual responses to medications can vary, and some people may experience tardive dyskinesia while using Fluvoxamine, or some individual-specific factors may play a role in these involuntary movements.

If you experience tardive dyskinesia while using Fluvoxamine or another antidepressant such as Sertraline or Citalopram, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider for assessment and guidance.

How does Fluvoxamine cause tardive dyskinesia?

Fluvoxamine, an SSRI, is not typically associated with causing tardive dyskinesia. It is most commonly associated with the use of antipsychotic medications, particularly older, first-generation antipsychotics.

Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive movements of the face, limbs or other parts of the body (2). 

There is limited study on tardive dyskinesia associated with Fluvoxamine use. However, several studies have linked the use of SSRI medications and tardive dyskinesia.

The exact mechanism through which Fluvoxamine triggers movement disorders is not fully understood; however, some studies have hypothesized that the major mechanism involves Fluvoxamine’s impact on serotonin and dopamine pathways and genetic receptor variations (1,3).

Fluvoxamine exerts its effects by primarily inhibiting the serotonin reuptake, leading to the accumulation of serotonin in the central nervous system. Serotonin potentiates the inhibition of dopamine production, resulting in the upregulation of dopamine receptor responsiveness and tardive dyskinesia (1).

What factors can contribute to tardive dyskinesia while taking Fluvoxamine?

Although Fluvoxamine is not typically associated with tardive dyskinesia, some factors can contribute to tardive dyskinesia while taking fluvoxamine.

Individual variations: Each body reacts differently to medications, including Fluvoxamine, and this variability can result in different presentations of involuntary movements.

Underlying conditions: Patients with underlying conditions that may cause tardive dyskinesia on their own such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease may experience worsened symptoms when taking Fluvoxamine (4).

Drug interactions: Concurrent use of other medications alongside Fluvoxamine can contribute to tardive dyskinesia. Certain drugs, such as first-generation antipsychotics and anti-emetics, when used together with Fluvoxamine, might augment its side effects like tardive dyskinesia (5).

Dosage and duration: The dosage and duration of treatment with Fluvoxamine also influence the likelihood of occurrence of tardive dyskinesia.

What to do if Fluvoxamine causes tardive dyskinesia?

If you are experiencing tardive dyskinesia while taking Fluvoxamine, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They may assess your condition to check whether Fluvoxamine is the main culprit. 

If your healthcare provider suspects Fluvoxamine is a source of tardive dyskinesia, they may reduce your dosage. If dose adjustment does not work, your doctor may gradually discontinue your medication.

Your doctor may also recommend transitioning to a different medication with fewer side effects. The incidence and management of tardive dyskinesia are highly individualized, and you should openly communicate with your healthcare provider about your treatment.

What are the management and treatment options for tardive dyskinesia?

The management and treatment of tardive dyskinesia involves a multidisciplinary approach, often requiring collaboration between a psychiatrist, neurologist and other healthcare professionals. Here are some general strategies that may be considered.

Medication management: Velbanazine and Deutetrabenazine are FDA-approved medications to treat tardive dyskinesia. They work by reducing the amount of dopamine released in certain areas of the brain (6).

Always take these medications by consulting with your healthcare provider to ensure that they do not negatively interact with Fluvoxamine.

Behavioural therapy: Occupational therapy and other forms of rehabilitation may help manage the functional aspects of tardive dyskinesia, improving daily activities and quality of life.

Lifestyle modification: Lifestyle modification such as regular monitoring of your treatment, practising good sleep hygiene, and engaging in regular exercise may help in managing tardive dyskinesia symptoms.

It is crucial for individuals experiencing tardive dyskinesia to work closely with their healthcare team to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment strategy based on their specific situation.

It’s also important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and individual responses to treatments can vary. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and management. 


According to my opinion and the knowledge available, Fluvoxamine is not commonly associated with causing tardive dyskinesia. However, individual responses to medications vary and if you experience this side effect while taking Fluvoxamine, it is crucial to discuss it with your healthcare professional for personalized guidance and treatment.


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