Tardive dyskinesia exacerbated after ingestion of phenylalanine by schizophrenic patients

Diane M. Mosnik*, Bonnie Spring, Keith Rogers, Sankar Baruah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Despite continued research, the influences that promote or exacerbate tardive dyskinesia (TD) symptoms remain incompletely understood. Recent findings (Gardos et al. 1992; Richardson et al. 1989) suggest that ingestion of the dietary constituent, phenylalanine, might exacerbate TD symptoms, but a double-blind, placebo-controlled challenge had not previously been conducted in schizophrenic patients. On two different mornings, in counterbalanced order, 18 male schizophrenic patients with TD were challenged with either 100 mg/kg phenylalanine or placebo. Effects on abnormal involuntary movements, recall memory, and plasma phenylalanine were measured 90 minutes post-challenge. The results supported the hypothesis in that involuntary movements increased to a statistically and clinically meaningful degree after the phenylalanine challenge, but not after placebo. No effects on memory were detected. Significant order effects characterized the plasma findings but not the behavioral data. Results indicate that a dietary constituent, the amino acid phenylalanine, can potentially exacerbate tardive dyskinesia symptoms in schizophrenic patients. The influence of phenylalanine and other ingested substances on clinical symptomatology warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • amino acids
  • phenylalanine
  • schizophrenia
  • tardive dyskinesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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