Valbenazine for Tardive DyskinesiaAuthor(s): Oliver Freudenreich, Gary Remington
Tardive dyskinesia (TD) remains a clinical concern for any patient who receives an antipsychotic. While the overall risk of developing TD is lower with newer antipsychotics compared to older agents, a significant number of patients who require long-term treatment will develop TD. Recently, valbenazine (brand name Ingrezza) became the first drug to be approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of TD. In this New Drug Review, we summarize the basic pharmacology and clinical trial results for valbenazine. Valbenazine is a modified metabolite of the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT-2) inhibitor tetrabenazine, which is approved for the treatment of the hyperkinetic movement disorder, Huntington’s disease. In short-term clinical trials, valbenazine at a dose of 80 mg/day improved TD, with an effect size that is clinically significant (d=0.90). The effect size for the 40-mg/day dose was lower (d=0.52). Compared to tetrabenazine, valbenazine has better clinical characteristics (i.e., once-a-day dosing, better short-term side effect profile). However, only long-term experience in routine clinical populations can delineate valbenazine’s full benefits, optimal dosing, and risks not identified during short-term registration trials.