(BPT) - This article was sponsored and developed by Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. Amy and Kim were compensated by Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. to share their story.
For the approximately 40 million people who care for loved ones, this November is a time to recognize their important role during National Family Caregivers Month. Caregiving can encompass a variety of activities and their support is a critical component in the lives of those who require it.
Amy grew up as an athlete and played sports throughout college, earning 10 varsity letters. After her collegiate sports career came to an end in 1981, a friend asked if she would be interested in joining a community-level slow pitch softball team. That's where she met her partner Kim, whose parents were sponsoring the softball team.
In 1996, Amy was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and worked with her doctors to find the right treatment plan. The diagnosis came after several major life-changing events, including an internal conflict she experienced after learning that members of her own religious community had challenging views of her relationship with Kim. Overtime, Amy's mental health became stable, but then in the early 2010s, after experiencing extreme job dissatisfaction and the death of both of her parents, she slipped back into a deep depressive state. In 2019, she worked with her doctors and therapists to find the most effective treatment and began taking antipsychotics, which again helped to stabilize her condition.
A few months later, Amy started to experience involuntary movements, including jaw swinging, chewing movements, grimacing, and movements while sitting. 'It all began in kind of a blur,' said Amy. 'When I first started having the movements, I just thought, why am I doing this?' Kim also noticed these symptoms. She pointed them out and suggested that Amy talk to her doctor about the movements.
About a year and a half after realizing she had involuntary movements, Amy was referred to a neurologist, who diagnosed her with tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD is a movement disorder characterized by abnormal, involuntary movements of the tongue, jaw, trunk, or extremities, which may be disruptive and negatively impact those living with the condition. TD is associated with prolonged use of certain kinds of mental health medicines (such as antipsychotics), which help control dopamine receptors in the brain. Approximately 600,000 people in the U.S. may be affected by this condition.
Once Kim knew of Amy's diagnosis and realized Amy may be living with TD for the rest of their lives, she took a step back to determine what she could do for Amy. Kim learned to become more aware and understanding of Amy's needs. 'Amy and I have a strong relationship. We can talk to each other and say, 'this is what I need from you,'' Kim said. 'It's a daily thing and we're working through it together.'
To help manage Amy's TD, her neurologist recommended INGREZZA® (valbenazine) capsules, the only once-daily treatment for adults with TD. INGREZZA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with movements in the face, tongue, or other body parts that cannot be controlled. It is not known if INGREZZA is safe and effective in children. The most common side effect is sleepiness (somnolence).
After Amy worked with her neurologist to find the most effective dosage, her symptoms became less prevalent, and with that she felt more confident. Individual results may vary. Some taking INGREZZA begin to notice a reduction in movements at 2 weeks with clinical results at 6 weeks*.
Please see full Important Safety Information and Prescribing Information below.
Kim saw the improvements in Amy's symptoms a few weeks after Amy started taking INGREZZA. 'Her whole attitude is different. She seems more relaxed now, while before I could tell she would be trying to stop moving, or chewing a lot of gum to hide the symptoms,' said Kim. 'We are not back to our everyday life quite yet, but it feels more comfortable.' Kim is proud of her progress and plans to be there every step of the way.
By sharing their story during National Family Caregivers Month, Amy and Kim hope to shed a light on the importance of supporting a loved one with a mental health condition and helping to recognize potential symptoms of TD. They encourage others to know what TD looks like, understand the cause and the impact, and encourage people to talk to their healthcare providers about TD or related disorders.
To learn more about TD and INGREZZA, talk to your doctor or visit INGREZZA.com for more safety information.
INGREZZA® (valbenazine) capsules is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with movements in the face, tongue, or other body parts that cannot be controlled (tardive dyskinesia).
It is not known if INGREZZA is safe and effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take INGREZZA if you:
- are allergic to valbenazine, or any of the ingredients in INGREZZA.
INGREZZA may cause serious side effects, including:
- Sleepiness (somnolence). Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how INGREZZA affects you.
- Heart rhythm problems (QT prolongation). INGREZZA may cause a heart problem known as QT prolongation.
Symptoms of QT prolongation may include:
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a change in your heartbeat (a fast or irregular heartbeat), or if you faint.
- Abnormal movements (Parkinson-like). Symptoms include: shaking, body stiffness, trouble moving or walking, or keeping your balance.
Before taking INGREZZA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions including if you: have liver or heart problems, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
The most common side effect of INGREZZA is sleepiness (somnolence). Other side effects include changes in balance (balance problems, dizziness) or an increased risk of falls, headache, feelings of restlessness, dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision.
These are not all of the possible side effects of INGREZZA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit MedWatch at www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see accompanying INGREZZA full Product Information.
*INGREZZA was studied in a 6 week clinical trial. A total of 234 people participated in the study. Results were based on 79 people taking the recommended dose of 80 mg.
This article was sponsored and developed by Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. Amy and Kim were compensated by Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. to share their story.
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