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Tetrabenazine in the treatment of Huntington’s disease

Authors Diana Paleacu

Published 15 November 2007 Volume 2007:3(5) Pages 545—551

Diana Paleacu

Neurology Service and Memory Clinic, Abarbanel Mental Health Center, Bat-Yam, affiliated to the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Abstract: Tetrabenazine (TBZ), a catecholamine-depleting agent initially developed for the treatment of schizophrenia, when tested for other indications, has proven to be more useful for the treatment of a variety of hyperkinetic movement disorders. These disorders include neurological diseases characterized by abnormal involuntary movements such as chorea associated with Huntington’s disease, tics in Tourette’s syndrome, dyskinesias and dystonias in tardive dyskinesia, also primary dystonias and myoclonus. This review will include and discuss studies published during the period of 1960–2006 regarding the clinical efficacy and tolerability of TBZ in Huntington’s disease (HD). It will also review the chemistry, pharmacokinetics and dynamics of the drug and its mechanism of action compared to that of reserpine, the only similar compound. This review emphasizes the advantage of TBZ over dopamine-depleting compounds used in the treatment of chorea and reveals its clinical efficacy and side effects.

Keywords: tetrabenazine, Huntington’s disease, chorea

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