San Diego, California (NAPSI) - In the 14 years that her mother lived with Huntington’s disease, the only time that Misty Oto saw her mother not move was when her heart stopped.
“It became a realization to me that no other families should have to go through this. They should not have to see their loved ones sedated in a bed, or subjecting themselves to injuries,” said Oto, now an advocate with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.
Huntington’s disease causes a harsh gradual decline of motor and mental function marked by uncontrollable “shaking” muscle movements, called chorea. There is only one FDA-approved treatment available, and many patients do not take it as prescribed due to side effects.
“Daily activities as simple as tying a shoe or pouring a glass of water are difficult for patients with Huntington’s disease due to involuntary muscle movement,” said Victor Sung, M.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Neurology. “Like exercise, treatments only work if you stick to the regimen. We’re exploring ways to make it easier for patients to take the medicine they need, and eligible patients are now able to participate in these studies.”
Physicians across the country are exploring a potential new treatment option for patients with Huntington’s disease as part of a global effort coordinated by the Huntington Study Group, a non-profit organization led by researchers to find new treatments that make a difference for patients and families with the disease.
One investigational new treatment being studied, called SD-809, is for the chorea associated with Huntington’s disease. SD-809 could potentially have fewer side effects and less frequent dosing than the only marketed drug, which could potentially improve the treatment by making it easier for patients to take the medicine they need to manage their disease.
The study will determine if SD-809 helps to reduce the chorea associated with Huntington’s disease. Because SD-809 is not broken down in the body as quickly as the marketed drug, tetrabenazine, it has a longer duration of action. These features of SD-809 may improve how well a patient’s body reacts to the drug, as compared to tetrabenazine, with the potential for less involuntary movements and potentially fewer side effects. It is also possible that SD-809 may be taken fewer times a day than tetrabenazine.
Patients interested in the clinical trials evaluating SD-809 can learn more by visiting www.huntington-study-group.org or calling (800) 487-7671.