FDA Nod for Tetrabenazine to Treat Huntington's Disease

by Savitha C Muppala on Aug 16 2008 7:01 PM

Federal drug regulators gave the go ahead for the drug, tetrabenazine, to help with one of the most prominent symptoms of Huntington's disease, chorea.

Huntington's, which is mostly a hereditary degenerative brain disorder causes the deterioration of brain cells resulting (in) involuntary shuddering movements, called as chorea. Chorea is known to affect nearly 90% of Huntington sufferers.

Dr. Andrew Feigin, a Huntington's researcher at the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research in Manhasset said, “I think this is a big deal both in terms of having something to offer patients with Huntington's disease and because people have been trying to find something for Huntington's patients for decades."

"It's just wonderful to have a drug approved by the FDA," said Dr. Fred Marshall of the University of Rochester, who led the clinical trials. "It's also important symbolically for the patients and their families. They've suffered for so long. The big victory here is putting the drug on the map."

Dr. Fred cautioned that it may not be the absolute treatment for the disease and excessive doses could cause depression and suicidal tendencies.

Prestwick Pharmaceuticals in Washington, D.C. are currently manufacturing this drug.