One of the most distressing side effects of antipsychotics is a syndrome called "tardive dyskinesia," in which a person develops involuntary movements and tics throughout the face and body.
Researchers in India report that rutin, an antioxidant, may actually help lessen the degree of these involuntary movements. In this particular study, the effect of rutin on vacuous chewing movements, tongue protrusions and facial jerking was studied in a population of rats who developed these behaviors after being given the drug Haldol. Rutin significantly inhibited all of these movements.
The researchers hypothesize that in the process of doing the work that it is supposed to do to help the schizophrenia, oxidative damage occurs which degrades the nervous system and induces involuntary movements. Rutin is a powerful antioxidant which appears to directly reduce this particular type of oxidation.
What is rutin? It is a flavonoid that is primarily found in buckwheat, citrus fruits, noni, black tea and apple peel. It is also available as a supplement, though until researchers pursue this relationship more thoroughly, it is probably best to include more of these listed foods in the diet. Sometimes adding too much of a "good thing" can disrupt the therapeutic potential of medications.
An additional note, rutin is also used in some cultures as an emergency contraceptive. So if you are of child bearing age and are on Haldol, it is important to use this information with caution.
Bishnoi M, Chopra K, Kulkarni SK. Protective effect of rutin, a polyphenolic flavonoid against haloperidol-induced orofacial dyskinesia and associated behavioural, biochemical and neurochemical changes. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Oct;21(5):521-9.
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