1800 244 735

A sprinkling of good news for the treatment of HD chorea

We wrote in August of 2023 about the US approval of a new drug to treat chorea, the movement symptoms of HD. That drug, valbenazine, commercially known as INGREZZA, has just been approved in a new format, one that can be added to soft foods. This news deserves a brief HDBuzz mention.

Chorea control

Valbenazine is one of a few drugs known as VMAT2 inhibitors. These treatments act on a chemical messenger called dopamine in the brain to reduce the involuntary movements of HD (chorea). VMAT2 inhibitors used for HD include tetrabenazine, deutetrabenazine (AUSTEDO), and valbenazine (INGREZZA), but there are a variety of other treatments prescribed to people with HD who experience chorea. A doctor might prescribe one over another based on a number of factors, including availability, cost, side effects, and control of other mood and behavioral symptoms.

Solutions for swallowing

These drugs are taken by mouth, but as symptoms like chorea and changes in muscle control worsen, many people with HD can experience difficulties with swallowing. Therapy sessions with an experienced speech language pathologist (SLP) can provide best practices and safety guidance around eating for those in the later stages of HD. But sometimes it’s just too much of a challenge for someone to swallow a pill.

In these circumstances, common across many diseases, medical professionals might recommend that a person’s medication be crushed or dissolved. They’re not always designed to be delivered this way, but it’s a good solution for those who have an easier time with soft foods, liquids, or who use a feeding tube.

A sprinkling of good news from Neurocrine

Simply put, the news from Neurocrine Biosciences, the company that makes valbenazine is that they have created and received approval in the United States for a new formula called INGREZZA SPRINKLE, which comes in a capsule designed to be opened and added to soft foods. As we mentioned when we talked about the original FDA approval, this drug is currently only available in the USA, and Neurocrine has not yet made plans to seek approvals in other countries.

So valbenazine is not new, and the idea of opening or crushing a capsule to help someone with HD continue taking a helpful treatment isn’t new either. But US government approval of a new formulation of an HD drug is a good reason to celebrate – and we’ll take any excuse we can to eat ice cream.

Latest Research Articles

Two birds, one stone: HTT-lowering drugs also target CAG expansions

Published date: 21 May, 2024

Huntingtin (HTT)-lowering and somatic expansion have been two of the hottest topics in Huntington’s disease (HD) research in the past decade. Recent work from a team at Massachusetts General Hospital detailed a serendipitous overlap between the two – certain HTT-lowering drugs can also help regulate the ongoing CAG repeat expansion. Seemingly, this could allow researchers ... Read more

Hats off to brain donors on Brain Donation Awareness Day

Published date: 7 May, 2024

If you’re a frequent reader of HDBuzz, you may have noticed that our articles increasingly thank Huntington’s disease (HD) families for their generous and selfless brain donations. That’s because more and more research is making use of human brains, leading to a better understanding of HD in people. All of that is only possible because ... Read more

A sprinkling of good news for the treatment of HD chorea

Published date: 3 May, 2024

We wrote in August of 2023 about the US approval of a new drug to treat chorea, the movement symptoms of HD. That drug, valbenazine, commercially known as INGREZZA, has just been approved in a new format, one that can be added to soft foods. This news deserves a brief HDBuzz mention. Chorea control Valbenazine ... Read more

A new era for HDBuzz

Published date: 1 May, 2024

HDBuzz strives to be an honest and neutral source of information that Huntington’s disease (HD) families can turn to for trusted, unbiased reporting on research and clinical trial news. We’re honored to have become a global resource for the HD community over the years (14!) and we look forward to building upon the original mission ... Read more

How many is too many? Exploring the toxic CAG threshold in the Huntington’s disease brain

Published date: 21 April, 2024

Drug hunters have been particularly interested in the repeating C-A-G letters of genetic code that lead to Huntington’s disease (HD). The number of CAG repeats gets bigger in vulnerable brain cells over time and may hold the key for slowing or stopping HD. Many scientists have been asking what happens to HD symptoms if we ... Read more

Cry your eyes out: detecting huntingtin in tears

Published date: 10 April, 2024

A recently published collaboration between academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies was successful at detecting huntingtin in tears. The scientists were looking for a new, easy way to track Huntington’s disease (HD). If you don’t mind shedding a tear or two, they found it! Biomarkers – biological metrics in tune with disease progression Tracking disease progression ... Read more