“Chorea can be disabling, worsen weight loss and increase the risk of falling,” said guideline lead author Melissa Armstrong, MD, MSc, with the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Neurology and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Huntington’s disease is a complex disease with physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms. The new guideline addresses only one aspect of the disease that may require treatment.
The guideline found that the drugs tetrabenazine (TBZ), riluzole and amantadine can be helpful and the drug nabilone may also be considered to treat chorea. The medications riluzole, amantadine and nabilone are not often prescribed for Huntington’s disease.
“People with Huntington’s disease who have chorea should discuss with their doctors whether treating chorea is a priority. Huntington’s disease is complex with a wide range of sometimes severe symptoms and treating other symptoms may be a higher priority than treating chorea,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong adds that it is important for patients to understand that their doctors may try drugs not recommended in this guideline to treat chorea. More research is needed to know if drugs such as those used for psychosis are effective; however, doctors may prescribe them on the basis of past clinical experience.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 25,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.