Xenazine



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Generic Name: tetrabenazine
(TET ra BEN a zeen)

What is Xenazine?

Xenazine reduces the amount of certain chemicals in the body that are overly active in people with Huntington's disease.

Xenazine is used to treat Huntington's chorea (uncontrolled muscle movements).

Xenazine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Xenazine?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to Xenazine, or if you have severe or untreated depression, suicidal thoughts, liver disease, or past or present breast cancer.

Do not use Xenazine if you have taken reserpine within the past 20 days, or if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), and tranylcypromine (Parnate) within the past 14 days.

Before you take Xenazine, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome," or a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or actions.

Xenazine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

You may feel depressed or have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking this medication. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits during treatment.

Stop taking Xenazine and call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, confusion, trouble swallowing, uncontrolled muscle movements, extreme drowsiness, or if you feel restless, agitated, hyperactive (mentally or physically), depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking Xenazine?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to Xenazine, or if you have:

  • severe or untreated depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • liver disease; or
  • past or present breast cancer.

Do not use Xenazine if you have taken reserpine within the past 20 days, or if you have used an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. Examples of MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication. Before you take Xenazine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease
  • a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome"; or
  • a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or actions.

You may feel depressed or have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking this medication. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts while taking Xenazine.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits while you are taking Xenazine.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Xenazine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether Xenazine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Xenazine?

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Call your doctor if your chorea symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while taking Xenazine.

You may need frequent eye exams while you are taking Xenazine. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Store Xenazine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do nottake extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, confusion, hallucinations, tremors, and restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck.

What should I avoid while taking Xenazine?

Xenazine can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of Xenazine.

What are the possible side effects of Xenazine?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Xenazine and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • mood or behavior changes
  • extreme drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out
  • feeling restless, agitated, or hyperactive (mentally or physically)
  • thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • tremor (uncontrolled shaking)
  • dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat; or
  • high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, rapid breathing.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia)
  • mild drowsiness, tired feeling
  • nausea; or
  • breast swelling or discharge.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Xenazine?

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

  • arsenic trioxide (Trisenox)
  • droperidol (Inapsine)
  • celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • darifenacin (Enablex)
  • ropinirole (Requip)
  • terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin, Strattera)
  • an antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), or pentamidine (NebuPent, Pentam)
  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft)
  • anti-malaria medication
  • cancer medications such as gefitinib (Iressa), imatinib (Gleevec), or nilotinib (Tasigna)
  • a heart rhythm medication
  • HIV or AIDS medicine such as delavirdine (Rescriptor) or ritonavir (Norvir)
  • medicine to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting, such as dolasetron (Anzemet), metoclopramide (Reglan), ondansetron (Zofran), or promethazine (Phenergan, Promacot)
  • medicine to treat psychiatric disorders, such as aripiprazole (Abilify), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), clozapine (FazaClo, Clozaril), haloperidol (Haldol), perphenazine (Trilafon), thioridazine (Mellaril), ziprasidone (Geodon), and others
  • migraine headache medicine such as sumatriptan (Imitrex) or zolmitriptan (Zomig); or
  • a narcotic such as levomethadyl (Orlaam), methadone (Methadose, Diskets, Dolophine) or propoxyphene (Daron, Darvocet).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Xenazine. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about Xenazine.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.