August 18, 2008
FDA OKs Drug for Huntington’s Chorea
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval of Xenazine (tetrabenazine) for the treatment of chorea in people with Huntington's disease.
The FDA said Xenazine is a new drug and the first treatment of any kind approved in the United States for any symptom of Huntington's disease. Currently there are no other drugs that are FDA-approved to treat chorea -- the jerky, involuntary movement that occurs in people with the disease.
The federal agency said side effects reported with use of Xenazine include depression and suicidal thoughts and actions and the drug should not be used in patients who are actively suicidal or in patients with untreated depression.
While the drug has been shown to decrease chorea in the short-term, the FDA said it also produced slight worsening in mood, cognition, rigidity, and functional capacity in clinical trials. Officials said health care professionals and family members of patients taking the drug should pay attention to all of the facets of the disease.
Xenazine is manufactured by Prestwick Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Washington, D.C.
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