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  • Generic Name: (tetrabenazine)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 06/2015
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Xenazine is a medicine used to treat involuntary movements associated with Huntington's disease.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      It has not yet been proven precisely how Xenazine works to successfully treat involuntary movements associated with Huntington's disease.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: Xenazine has been shown to improve involuntary movements, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with this condition.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Xenazine exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      You may notice an improvement in your symptoms once you begin taking Xenazine. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions to assess how well your symptoms are controlled.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Xenazine can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in people with Huntington's disease. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening and suicidal or unusual behavior. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Your healthcare provider will not prescribe Xenazine to you if you currently have suicidal thoughts or behaviors or untreated depression.

      More common side effects may include: drowsiness, tiredness, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, nausea, inner restlessness.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) (a life-threatening brain disorder), with symptoms such as high fever, increased sweating, problems thinking, stiff muscles, or very fast or uneven heartbeat.

      Parkinsonism, with symptoms such as slight shaking, body stiffness, or trouble moving or keeping your balance.

      Orthostatic hypotension (a sudden fall in blood pressure) when you change position, with symptoms such as dizziness or fainting.

      Tardive dyskinesia (abnormal muscle movements, including tremor, shuffling, and uncontrolled, involuntary movements), with symptoms such as repeated facial expressions, sticking out of the tongue, smacking of the lips, puckering and pursing of the lips, or rapid eye blinking.

      Xenazine may also cause difficulty swallowing; an irregular heartbeat; or a slight worsening in mood, brain function, or muscle stiffness.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Xenazine if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

      Do not take Xenazine if you currently have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or if you have untreated depression.

      Do not take Xenazine if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions (such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine). Do not start taking Xenazine if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks.

      Do not take Xenazine if you are currently taking reserpine or if you took reserpine in the last 20 days.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Xenazine. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have breast cancer or a history of breast cancer; emotional or mental problems (such as agitation, anger, anxiety, depression, nervousness, psychosis, or suicidal thoughts or behavior); liver or heart problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: The usual starting dose is 12.5 milligrams once a day, in the morning.

      Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed, until the desired effect is achieved.

      If you are taking certain other medicines, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Xenazine exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not take it more often or stop taking it without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Take Xenazine with or without food.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how Xenazine affects you.

      Do not drink alcohol or take medicines that make you sleepy while taking Xenazine.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Xenazine is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Xenazine with the following: alcohol, amiodarone, chlorpromazine, fluoxetine, haloperidol, MAOIs, moxifloxacin, olanzapine, paroxetine, procainamide, quinidine, reserpine, risperidone, sotalol, thioridazine, or ziprasidone.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      The effects of Xenazine during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Xenazine. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Xenazine, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
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