A pineapple flavoured powdered drink which claims to be the first product to treat the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (TD) in men has been launched in the US. The new product, Tarvil, is produced by SHS North America and was introduced this week at the annual meeting of the Annual American Psychiatric Association in Philadelphia.
TD is a neurological disorder whose symptoms include repetitive movements of the tongue, the jaw, and the fingers. In severe cases these movements can occur as frequently as 10 per minute.
Tarvil uses branched chain amino acids (BCAA) to combat the symptoms of TD, which are often a side effect of anti-psychotic treatments for more serious disorders such as schizophrenia. TD in men is characterised by a decreased ability to clear the amino acid phenylalanine from the plasma, but BCAAs are known to reduce blood plasma levels of the amino acid.
SHS North America cited a study presented at the APA meeting by Dr Mary Ann Richardson, director of the Movement Disorders and Molecular Psychiatric Division of the Nathan S. Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research at the New York State Office of Mental Health, which showed that the ingestion of Tarvil increased BCAA levels, and thereby decreased plasma levels of phenylalanine and significantly reduced TD symptoms.
"The symptoms of TD can be so disfiguring that this disorder alienates patients and their families and they are reluctant to go out in public," said Mark De Fries, CEO of SHS North America. "Patients with severe TD can now use Tarvil and reduce these unwanted movements without stopping their anti-psychotic medications."
Studies have determined that TD develops in 15 to 20 per cent of patients taking anti-psychotic medications for several years. "In many cases, TD symptoms continue even after anti-psychotic medication is stopped," said De Fries. "Tarvil will relieve a lot of patients, especially those who are institutionalised with serious psychotic conditions."
SHS North America produces a range of medical foods for the treatment of disorders. Among its other products are Neocate, an amino acid-based, hypoallergenic infant formula for cow milk allergy and multiple food protein intolerance, Periflex and Phlexy-10, both medical foods for the dietary management of phenylketonuria (PKU), another disorder which leads to the build up of phenylalanine, and KetoCal, a nutritionally complete ketogenic formula (i.e. supplying a large amount of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrate and protein) for individuals over the age of one year with intractable epilepsy