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Home | How to Take Xenazine | How to Take Xenazine

How to Take Xenazine® (tetrabenazine)


Sue and Jeff’s Story

Sue and Jeff share their experiences living with Huntington’s disease, from their initial reactions to her diagnosis to working with their doctor to find treatment for her HD chorea symptoms.

Hear from Sue and Jeff »

Matt’s HD Chorea

See how Matt and his caregiver and wife, Karen, worked to find treatment options, including Xenazine, to help manage his HD chorea.

Watch Matt’s Story »


Chorea Symptoms in Huntington's Disease

Dr. Sung discusses how chorea can affect Huntington's disease patients.

Learn about HD symptoms »


Craig and Sara's Huntington's Disease Story

Watch Craig and Sara discuss their experiences with chorea associated with Huntington's disease and how it can affect the entire family.

Hear from Craig and Sarah »

Matt’s HD Chorea

See how Matt and his caregiver and wife, Karen, worked to find treatment options, including Xenazine, to help manage his HD chorea.

Watch Matt’s Story »

Medication Assistance Program: REACH

Learn about Lundbeck’s medication assistance program, REACH, which offers financial assistance for Xenazine patients who qualify.

Discover what REACH might do for you »

If your doctor prescribes Xenazine to treat chorea associated with Huntington’s disease (HD), you will start taking it slowly. Your doctor may increase the strength and number of tablets (dose) you take over the course of several weeks up to a few months to find the right dose that will decrease your HD chorea. The process of slowly increasing your dose is also known as titration (tie-TRAY-shun). For example, you may start with one 12.5-mg tablet every morning with breakfast. Then you may gradually increase the three 12.5-mg tablets a day taken in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

If your doctor thinks you need to take more than 50mg of Xenazine each day, you will need to have a blood test to see if a higher dose is right for you.

Your doctor may give you a dosing schedule to help you keep track of when and how much Xenazine to take. You should always take Xenazine as prescribed by your doctor.

Xenazine is a tablet you swallow. You can take it with or without food. Xenazine comes in two different tablet strengths, 12.5-mg and 25-mg.

While taking Xenazine, it is important to remember that it may take a while for your physician to find the right dose that works for you. The dose of Xenazine may be different for every person. It is important to tell your doctor if your or your loved one’s HD chorea does not improve or if there are any side effects. Your doctor will decide to either increase the dose to reduce the HD chorea or decrease the dose if you or your loved one is experiencing side effects. Or your doctor may prescribe a medication to reduce the side effect. For example, if you begin to experience depression, an antidepressant may successfully control your symptoms. If the side effect cannot be managed, you and your doctor may decide to discontinue Xenazine.

Tell your doctor if you stop taking Xenazine for more than 5 days. Do not take another dose until you talk to your doctor.

Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings or worsening depression. This is especially important when Xenazine is started or when the dose is changed.

XENAZINE® (tetrabenazine) Tablets

Indications and Usage:

XENAZINE is a medicine that is used to treat the involuntary movements (chorea) of Huntington's disease. XENAZINE does not cure the cause of the involuntary movements, and it does not treat other symptoms of Huntington's disease, such as problems with thinking or emotions.

It is not known whether XENAZINE is safe and effective in children.

Important Safety Information:

  • XENAZINE can cause serious side effects, including:
    • depression
    • suicidal thoughts
    • suicidal actions
  • You should not start taking XENAZINE if you are depressed (have untreated depression or depression that is not well controlled by medicine) or have suicidal thoughts.
  • Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings, or worsening depression. This is especially important when XENAZINE is started and when the dose is changed.
  • Do not take XENAZINE if you have liver problems or are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or reserpine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure. At least 20 days should pass after stopping reserpine before starting XENAZINE.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, breast-feeding, have breast cancer or a history of breast cancer, or have heart disease or an irregular heartbeat.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. Do not start any new medicines while taking XENAZINE without talking to your doctor first.
  • Take XENAZINE exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The need for therapy should be evaluated on an ongoing basis with your doctor. The dose of XENAZINE should be adjusted slowly over several weeks for a dose that is appropriate for you. Tell your doctor if you stop taking XENAZINE for more than 5 days. Do not take another dose until you talk to your doctor. If your doctor thinks you need to take more than 50 mg of XENAZINE each day, you will need to have a blood test to see if a higher dose is right for you.
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a potentially fatal side effect reported with XENAZINE. Call your doctor right away and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these signs and symptoms that do not have another obvious cause: high fever, stiff muscles, problems thinking, very fast or uneven heartbeat, or increased sweating. XENAZINE should be stopped immediately if NMS is diagnosed.
  • XENAZINE can also cause other serious side effects, including: parkinsonism (slight shaking, body stiffness, trouble moving, or keeping your balance), restlessness (akathisia), trouble swallowing, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness due to blood pressure changes when you change position (orthostatic hypotension). Trouble swallowing may increase the risk of pneumonia. Uncontrolled movements called tardive dyskinesia (TD) may also develop in patients treated with XENAZINE. It is possible that the TD will not go away.
  • The risk of side effects, such as irregular heartbeat, parkinsonism, NMS, and restlessness (akathisia), may be increased when using XENAZINE with other drugs (e.g., dopamine antagonists or antipsychotics).
  • Sleepiness is a common side effect of XENAZINE; do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how XENAZINE affects you. Alcohol and other drugs may increase sleepiness caused by XENAZINE.
  • Some side effects, such as depression, tiredness, trouble sleeping, sleepiness, parkinsonism, agitation, and restlessness (akathisia), may be dose-dependent. If the side effects don’t stop or lessen, your doctor should consider lowering the dose or stopping your XENAZINE. The most commonly reported side effects in studies with XENAZINE were sleepiness, trouble sleeping, depression, tiredness, anxiety, restlessness, agitation, and nausea.

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning, the Medication Guide or go to www.XenazineUSA.com.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Sources:

  1. "FDA Approves First Drug for Treatment of Chorea in Huntington's Disease", FDA News Release, August 15, 2008: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2008/ucm116936.htm. Updated April 15, 2013. Accessed August 17, 2015.