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Treatment

As per the Mayo Clinic: Treatments for HD are merely symptomatic-meaning they alleviate the suffering of the patients, but do NOT alter the disease progression or disease state.


Medications for movement disorders

Drugs to treat movement disorders include:

Tetrabenazine (Xenazine) is specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to suppress the involuntary jerking and writhing movements associated with Huntington's disease (chorea). A serious side effect is the risk of worsening or triggering depression or other psychiatric conditions. Other possible side effects include insomnia, drowsiness, nausea and restlessness. 


Antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol (Haldol) and clozapine (Clozaril), 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.


Other medications that may help suppress chorea, dystonia and muscle rigidity include antiseizure drugs such as clonazepam (Klonopin) and antianxiety drugs such as diazepam (Valium). These medications can significantly alter consciousness, and they have 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 escitalopram (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, insomnia, and sexual problems.


Antipsychotic drugs may suppress violent outbursts, agitation and other symptoms of mood disorders or psychosis.


Mood-stabilizing drugs that can help prevent the highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder include lithium (Lithobid) and anticonvulsants, such as valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex (Depakote) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).
Common side effects...include weight gain, tremor and gastrointestinal problems. Periodic blood tests are required for lithium use because it can cause thyroid and kidney problems.


Currently Dr. Hermanowicz has been using creatine in clinical trials to combat the dramatic weight loss demonstrated with the disease progression of HD.