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HDSA Applauds Announcement of the First Therapy to be Approved for the Specific Treatment of a Symptom of Huntington's Disease
Date:8/15/2008

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The approval of Xenazine(R) (tetrabenazine), for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's Disease (HD), the first therapy to be approved specifically for the disease, is a significant milestone for all of our patients, families and caregivers in the HD community. Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) is very pleased that we have the first treatment to alleviate one of the symptoms of this devastating disease.

"This is a great moment for our families, who have been waiting for answers to HD for a long time," said Barbara Boyle, National Executive Director/CEO of HDSA. "Our families should be proud that their advocacy efforts helped make a difference. We thank the developers of Xenazine for their work and perseverance, and look forward to more announcements of therapeutic approvals by the FDA in the near future. We will provide information on the future availability of Xenazine on our website (http://www.hdsa.org), and in our electronic and print publications as soon as details are provided to HDSA."

Huntington's Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes the affected individual's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. Eventually, the person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. Huntington's Disease profoundly affects the lives of entire families -- emotionally, socially and economically. More than a quarter of a million Americans have HD or are "at risk" of inheriting the disease from an affected parent. HD affects as many people as Hemophilia, Cystic Fibrosis or ALS.

Early symptoms of Huntington's Disease may affect cognitive ability or mobility and include depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, clumsiness, involuntary twitching and lack of coordination. As the disease progresses, concentration and short-term memory diminish and involuntary movements of the head, trunk and limbs increase. Walking, speaking and swallowing abilities deteriorate. Eventually the person is unable to care for him or herself. Death follows from complications such as choking, infection or heart failure.

HD typically begins in mid-life, between the ages of 30 and 50, though onset may occur as early as the age of 2. Children who develop the juvenile form of the disease rarely live to adulthood.

HD affects males and females equally and crosses all ethnic and racial boundaries. Each child of a person with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the fatal gene. Everyone who carries the gene will develop the disease. For more information please visit our website, http://www.hdsa.org, or contact us at (800)-345-HDSA or hdsainfo@hdsa.org.


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SOURCE Huntington's Disease Society of America
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