Medications Prescribed For Huntington’s Patients

Teva Announces FDA Approval of AUSTEDO™ (deutetrabenazine) Tablets for the Treatment of Chorea Associated with Huntington’s Disease

http://www.tevapharm.com/news/teva_announces_fda_approval_of_austedo_deutetrabenazine_tablets_for_the_treatment_of_chorea_associated_with_huntington_s_disease_04_17.aspx

By Mayo Clinic Staff

 No treatments can alter the course of Huntington’s disease. But medications can lessen some symptoms of movement and psychiatric disorders. And multiple interventions can help a person adapt to changes in his or her abilities for a certain amount of time.

Medication management is likely to evolve over the course of the disease, depending on the overall treatment goals. Also, drugs to treat some symptoms may result in side effects that worsen other symptoms. Therefore, the treatment goals and plan will be regularly reviewed and updated.

Medications for movement disorders

Drugs to treat movement disorders include the following:

  •  A new drug just approved in April 2017 by the FDA is AUSTEDO It is a prescription medicine that is used to treat the involuntary movements (chorea) of Huntington’s disease. AUSTEDO does not cure the cause of the involuntary movements, and it does not treat other symptoms of Huntington’s disease, such as problems with thinking or emotions. It is not known if AUSTEDO is safe and effective in children.      https://austedo.com/ 
  • Tetrabenazine (Xenazine) is specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to suppress the involuntary jerking and writhing movements (chorea) associated with Huntington’s disease. A serious side effect is the risk of worsening or triggering depression or other psychiatric conditions.    Other possible side effects include drowsiness, nausea and restlessness.  See link below for more information on Xenazine.
  • Antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol (Haldol) and chlorpromazine, have a side effect of suppressing movements. Therefore, they may be beneficial in treating chorea. These drugs may, however, worsen involuntary contractions (dystonia) and muscle rigidity.Newer drugs, such as risperidone (Risperdal) and quetiapine (Seroquel), may have fewer side effects but still should be used with caution, as they may also worsen symptoms.
  • Other medications that may help suppress chorea include amantadine, levetiracetam (Keppra) and clonazepam (Klonopin). At high doses, amantadine can worsen the cognitive effects of Huntington’s disease. It may also cause leg swelling and skin discoloration.Side effects of levetiracetam include nausea, stomach upset and mood swings. Clonazepam may worsen the cognitive side effects of Huntington’s disease and cause drowsiness. It also has a high risk of dependence and abuse.

Medications for psychiatric disorders

Medications to treat psychiatric disorders will vary depending on the disorders and symptoms. Possible treatments include the following:

  • Antidepressants include such drugs as citalopram (Celexa, Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and sertraline (Zoloft). These drugs may also have some effect on treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness and low blood pressure.
  • Antipsychotic drugs — such as quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa) — may suppress violent outbursts, agitation, and other symptoms of mood disorders or psychosis. However, these drugs may cause different movement disorders themselves.
  • Mood-stabilizing drugs that can help prevent the highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder include anticonvulsants, such as valproate (Depacon), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro) and lamotrigine (Lamictal). Common side effects include weight gain, tremor and gastrointestinal problems.