About 5% of patients maintained on conventional antipsychotics will develop tardive dyskinesia every year (i.e., 20% by 4 years), which is not a very encouraging prospect for a lifelong illness starting in the early twenties. If the D2 receptor blockade is removed early enough, tardive dyskinesia may reverse. This reversal is theoretically due to resetting of these receptors by an appropriate decrease in the number or sensitivity of D2 receptors in the nigrostrial pathway once the antipsychotic drugs that had been blocking these receptors are removed. However, after long-term treatment, the D2 receptors apparently cannot or do not reset back to normal, even when conventional antipsychotic drugs are discontinued. This leads to irreversible tardive dyskinesia, which continues whether conventional antipsychotic drugs are administered or not.
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