There is no known cure for Huntington’s disease. However, there are several approved therapies to help manage the symptoms of the disease and maintain patients’ quality of life for as long as possible.
Some experts believe beginning treatment with an atypical antipsychotic medication, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), is best. Others start with another type of medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for Huntington’s, called tetrabenazine (Xenazine).
What Is Huntington’s Disease?
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited disease that causes certain nerve cells in the brain to waste away. The disorder is named for George Huntington, M.D., the American physician who first described it in 1872.
Symptoms of the disease, which gets progressively worse, include uncontrolled movements (called chorea), abnormal body postures, and changes in behavior, emotion, judgment, and cognition.
HD is known as a family disease because every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 41,000 symptomatic Americans.
If a child does not inherit the HD mutation, he or she will not develop the disease and cannot pass it to subsequent generations. In some families, all the children may inherit the HD gene; in others, none do.
A blood test can tell if you have the HD gene and will develop the disease. Genetic counseling can help you weigh the risks and benefits of taking the test.
Medications for Movement Disorders
Medications to control movement include tetrabenazine (Xenazine) and deutetrabenazine (Austedo), which have been specifically approved to suppress the involuntary jerking and writhing movements (chorea) associated with Huntington’s disease.
Haloperidol (Haldol) and fluphenazine may be beneficial in treating chorea. However, these medications may worsen involuntary contractions (dystonia), restlessness and drowsiness.
Medications for Psychiatric Disorders
Antidepressants include medications such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and sertraline (Zoloft).
Quetiapine (Seroquel), risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa) may suppress violent outbursts, agitation, and other symptoms of mood disorders or psychosis.
Mood-stabilizing medications that can help prevent the highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder include anticonvulsants, such as divalproex (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Epitol, others) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).
Physical therapy can help maintain mobility and prevent falls through tailored exercises for the patient. This can be complemented by occupational therapy that helps the patient establish coping strategies and identify ways to make his or her life easier, either through simple changes or the introduction of assistive devices.
Occupational therapy and speech therapy can also help deal with communication issues that may arise due to the disease affecting the muscles of the mouth and throat.
Researchers have identified several avenues to further explore for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. Many of these have now progressed to the clinical trial stage in humans, and more are still being developed.
For example, SRX246, gene silencing therapies and anti-inflammatory therapies are in clinical trial to reduce nerve cell death or inflammation.
Safe and Affordable Medications to Treat HD
Cheapomeds.com carries safe and affordable medications to treat HD.
As an international online prescription referral service, cheapomeds.com is certified by CIPA. It can source medications from the international market, and the international price can be much cheaper than your local medications.
For example, The lowest Cheapomeds.com price for the most common version of tetrabenazine (Xenazine), manufactured by Cambridge Laboratories, is around $2.09 per tab, 98.20% off the average retail price of $116.10 per tab in the United States.
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