AAN: New guideline on how to best treat involuntary movements in Huntington's disease

A new guideline released by the American Academy of Neurology recommends several treatments for people with Huntington's disease who experience chorea—jerky, random, uncontrollable movements that can make everyday activities challenging. The guideline is published in the July 18, 2012, online issue of Neurology.

"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 Department of and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

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 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 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.

More information: Learn more about the guideline at www.aan.com/guidelines or Huntington's disease at www.aan.com/patients

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

AAN releases updated guideline for treating essential tremor

Oct 19, 2011

The American Academy of Neurology is releasing an updated guideline on how to best treat essential tremor, which is the most common type of tremor disorder and is often confused with other movement disorders such as Parkinson's ...

FDA approves first drug for Huntington's disease

Aug 16, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved tetrabenazine, the first drug approved for use in the United States to treat Huntington's disease, a fatal, inherited neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no cure. ...

AAN guideline evaluates treatments for muscle cramps

Feb 22, 2010

A new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology recommends that the drug quinine, although effective, should be avoided for treatment of routine muscle cramps due to uncommon but serious side effects. The guideline ...

Recommended for you

Know the brain, and its axons, by the clothes they wear

Apr 18, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—It is widely know that the grey matter of the brain is grey because it is dense with cell bodies and capillaries. The white matter is almost entirely composed of lipid-based myelin, but ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution

Apr 17, 2014

A major challenge of systems biology is understanding how phenomena at the cellular scale correlate with activity at the organism level. A concerted effort has been made especially in the brain, as scientists are aiming to ...

User comments