Tetrabenazine as anti-chorea therapy in Huntington Disease: an open-label continuation study. Huntington Study Group/TETRA-HD Investigators

BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.49). 12/2009; 9:62. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-9-62
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tetrabenazine (TBZ) selectively depletes central monoamines by reversibly binding to the type-2 vesicular monoamine transporter. A previous double blind study in Huntington disease (HD) demonstrated that TBZ effectively suppressed chorea, with a favorable short-term safety profile (Neurology 2006;66:366-372). The objective of this study was to assess the long-term safety and effectiveness of TBZ for chorea in HD.
Subjects who completed the 13-week, double blind protocol were invited to participate in this open label extension study for up to 80 weeks. Subjects were titrated to the best individual dose or a maximum of 200 mg/day. Chorea was assessed using the Total Maximal Chorea (TMC) score from the Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale.
Of the 75 participants, 45 subjects completed 80 weeks. Three participants terminated due to adverse events (AEs) including depression, delusions with associated previous suicidal behavior, and vocal tics. One subject died due to breast cancer. The other 26 subjects chose not to continue on with each ensuing extension for various reasons. When mild and unrelated AEs were excluded, the most commonly reported AEs (number of subjects) were sedation/somnolence (18), depressed mood (17), anxiety (13), insomnia (10), and akathisia (9). Parkinsonism and dysarthria [corrected] scores were significantly increased at week 80 compared to baseline. At week 80, chorea had significantly improved from baseline with a mean reduction in the TMC score of 4.6 (SD 5.5) units. The mean dosage at week 80 was 63.4 mg (range 12.5-175 mg).
TBZ effectively suppresses HD-related chorea for up to 80 weeks. Patients treated chronically with TBZ should be monitored for parkinsonism, dysphagia and other side effects including sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and akathisia. registration number (initial study): NCT00219804.

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    • "TBZ can induce symptoms of depression, including fatigue, in people who receive it as a treatment for Huntington's disease (Frank 2009, 2010; Guay 2010), and can induce behavioral signs of depression in animal models such as forced swim and tail suspension tests (Preskorn et al. 1984; Kent et al. 1986; Wang et al. 2010). Recently, TBZ was reported to reduce lever pressing and increase chow intake in rats responding on concurrent lever pressing/chow feeding choice procedures (Nunes et al. 2013b; Randall et al. 2014a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale Depressed people show effort-related motivational symptoms, such as anergia, retardation, lassitude, and fatigue. Animal tests can model these motivational symptoms, and the present studies characterized the effort-related effects of the vesicular monoamine transport (VMAT-2) inhibitor tetrabenazine. Tetrabenazine produces depressive symptoms in humans and, at low doses, preferentially depletes dopamine. Objectives The current studies investigated the effects of tetrabenazine on effort-based decision making using the T-maze barrier task. Methods Rats were tested in a T-maze in which the choice arms of the maze contain different reinforcement densities, and under some conditions, a vertical barrier was placed in the high-density arm to provide an effort-related challenge. The first experiment assessed the effects of tetrabenazine under different maze conditions: a barrier in the arm with 4 food pellets and 2 pellets in the no barrier arm (4-2 barrier), 4 pellets in one arm and 2 pellets in the other with no barrier in either arm (no barrier), and 4 pellets in the barrier arm with no pellets in the other (4-0 barrier). Results Tetrabenazine (0.25-0.75 mg/kg IP) decreased selection of the high cost/high reward arm when the barrier was present, but had no effect on choice under the no barrier and 4-0 barrier conditions. The effects of tetrabenazine on barrier climbing in the 4-2 condition were reversed by the adenosine A2A antagonist MSX-3 and the catecholamine uptake inhibitor and antidepressant bupropion. Conclusions These studies have implications for the development of animal models of the motivational symptoms of depression and other disorders.
    Psychopharmacology 10/2014; 232(7). DOI:10.1007/s00213-014-3766-0 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    • "We also showed that this small group of TBZ responders did not exhibit parkinsonian gait changes. This study confirms previous work demonstrating a significant improvement in UHDRS total motor and chorea scores on-TBZ than off- TBZ [6] [7] "
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    ABSTRACT: Chorea may contribute to balance problems and walking difficulties that lead to higher fall rates in individuals with Huntington’s disease (HD). Few studies have examined the effects of tetrabenazine (TBZ), an anti-choreic drug, on function and mobility in HD. The purpose of this study was to compare: 1) gait measures in forward walking, 2) balance and mobility measures, and 3) hand and forearm function measures on and off TBZ. We hypothesized that use of TBZ would improve gait, transfers and hand and forearm function. Eleven individuals with HD on stable doses of TBZ were evaluated while off medication and again following resumption of medication. Significant improvements were found on the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) motor scores, Tinetti Mobility Test (TMT) total (t = 4.20, p = 0.002) and balance subscale (t = − 4.61, p = 0.001) scores, and the Five Times Sit-to-Stand test (5TSST, t = 3.20, p = .009) when on-TBZ compared to off-TBZ. Spatiotemporal gait measures, the Six Condition Romberg test, and UHDRS hand and forearm function items were not changed by TBZ use. Improved TMT and 5TSST performance when on drug indicates that TBZ use may improve balance and functional mobility in individuals with HD.
    Journal of the Neurological Sciences 10/2014; 347(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2014.09.053 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Tetrabenazine (TBZ) reduces chorea related to Huntington disease (HD); however, it is uncertain whether this effect improves functionally relevant motor skills such as hand coordination and balance. The objective of this study was to provide pilot data regarding three motor function tests, which might be useful in monitoring symptom progression and therapeutic response, pending formal validation. Methods The authors assessed 11 ambulatory patients with HD-related chorea on two occasions: (1) while off TBZ (either prior to starting therapy or following a >24 h washout) and (2) when on a stable dose of TBZ, titrated to optimal effect. Study evaluations included the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test (JTHFT) and Berg Balance Scale, a timed 25-foot walk, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the complete United Huntington Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS). Results Maximal chorea scores (UHDRS item 12) improved from 11.1 ± 2.9 to 8.5 ± 3.9 while on TBZ (P = 0.03), but we could not detect an improvement in functional measures while on TBZ in this small cohort. Scores of the JTHFT were globally slower than published normative data and correlated with MoCA summary scores, but not UHDRS chorea scores. Conclusions This pilot study did not detect significant functional gains with chorea suppression. The fact that performance on tests of hand function correlates with MoCA but not UHDRS chorea scores highlights the need for additional treatments targeted toward the cognitive aspects of HD.
    12/2012; 1(1). DOI:10.1007/s40120-012-0005-7
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