HDSA Applauds Announcement of the First Therapy to be Approved for the Specific Treatment of a Symptom of Huntington's Disease

Saturday, August 16, 2008 General News
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NEW YORK, Aug. 15 The approval of Xenazine(R)(tetrabenazine), for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington'sDisease (HD), the first therapy to be approved specifically for the disease,is a significant milestone for all of our patients, families and caregivers inthe HD community. Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) is verypleased that we have the first treatment to alleviate one of the symptoms ofthis devastating disease.

"This is a great moment for our families, who have been waiting foranswers to HD for a long time," said Barbara Boyle, National ExecutiveDirector/CEO of HDSA. "Our families should be proud that their advocacyefforts helped make a difference. We thank the developers of Xenazine fortheir work and perseverance, and look forward to more announcements oftherapeutic approvals by the FDA in the near future. We will provideinformation on the future availability of Xenazine on our website(http://www.hdsa.org), and in our electronic and print publications as soon asdetails are provided to HDSA."

Huntington's Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative braindisorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HDslowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, think, talk andreason. Eventually, the person with HD becomes totally dependent upon othersfor his or her care. Huntington's Disease profoundly affects the lives ofentire families -- emotionally, socially and economically. More than a quarterof a million Americans have HD or are "at risk" of inheriting the disease froman affected parent. HD affects as many people as Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosisor ALS.

Early symptoms of Huntington's Disease may affect cognitive ability ormobility and include depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, clumsiness,involuntary twitching and lack of coordination. As the disease progresses,concentration and short-term memory diminish and involuntary movements of thehead, trunk and limbs increase. Walking, speaking and swallowing abilitiesdeteriorate. Eventually the person is unable to care for him or herself. Deathfollows from complications such as choking, infection or heart failure.

HD typically begins in mid-life, between the ages of 30 and 50, thoughonset may occur as early as the age of 2. Children who develop the juvenileform of the disease rarely live to adulthood.

HD affects males and females equally and crosses all ethnic and racialboundaries. Each child of a person with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheritingthe fatal gene. Everyone who carries the gene will develop the disease. Formore information please visit our website, http://www.hdsa.org,or contact us at (800)-345-HDSA or hdsainfo@hdsa.org.

SOURCE Huntington's Disease Society of America

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