JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Symptomatic treatment of Huntington disease

Octavian R Adam, Joseph Jankovic
Neurotherapeutics: the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 2008, 5 (2): 181-97
18394562
Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive heredoneurodegenerative disease manifested by chorea and other hyperkinetic (dystonia, myoclonus, tics) and hypokinetic (parkinsonism) movement disorders. In addition, a variety of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms, along with cognitive decline, contribute significantly to the patient's disability. Because there are no effective neuroprotective therapies that delay the progression of the disease, symptomatic treatment remains the cornerstone of medical management. Several classes of medications have been used to ameliorate the various symptoms of HD, including typical and atypical neuroleptics, dopamine depleters, antidepressants, antiglutamatergic drugs, GABA agonists, antiepileptic medications, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, and botulinum toxin. Recently, surgical approaches including pallidotomy, deep brain stimulation, and fetal cell transplants have been used for the symptomatic treatment of HD. The selected therapy must be customized to the needs of each patient, minimizing the potential adverse effects. The primary aim of this article is to review the role of the different therapies, both available and investigational, for the treatment of the motor, psychiatric, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms of HD, and to examine their impact on the patient's functionality and quality of life.

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