Treatment for Huntington's Disease
Treatment for Huntington's disease generally involves managing the emotional, mental, and physical problems associated with the brain disorder. While medications such as antipsychotics and tranquilizers may help with some of the symptoms of the disorder; they cannot cure the disease or slow its progression. Other treatment for Huntington's disease may involve speech therapy and assistance with feeding and nutritional issues.
At this point, there is no cure for Huntington's disease or way of slowing its progression. Therefore, Huntington's disease treatment focuses on controlling the emotional and movement problems associated with the disorder (which is also known as Huntington disease or HD). Treatment for Huntington's disease also focuses on providing care to make living with the disorder easier.
There are several medicines that can be prescribed for symptoms of Huntington disease. Most drugs used to treat the symptoms of HD have side effects such as fatigue, restlessness, or hyperexcitability. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell if a particular symptom, such as apathy or incontinence, is a sign of the disease or a reaction to medication.
Antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol, or other drugs, such as clonazepam, may help to alleviate choreic movements and may also be used to help control hallucinations, delusions, and violent outbursts.
Antipsychotic drugs, however, are not prescribed for another form of muscle contraction associated with Huntington's disease, called dystonia, and may in fact worsen the condition, causing stiffness and rigidity. These medications may also have severe side effects, including sedation, and for that reason should be used in the lowest possible doses.
For depression, physicians may prescribe fluoxetine, sertraline, nortriptyline, or other compounds. Tranquilizers can help control anxiety, and lithium may be prescribed to combat pathological excitement and severe mood swings. Medications may also be needed to treat the severe obsessive-compulsive rituals of some individuals with Huntington's disease.
It is important to remember that while medicines may help keep symptoms of Huntington disease under control, there is no treatment to stop or reverse the course of the disease.