Huntington's Disease

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

December 06, 2018

March 06, 2020

Huntington's Disease
Huntington's Disease

What is Huntington’s disease?

Huntington's disease is a neurological inherited disease caused by a single defective gene HTT which leads to a progressive breakdown of nerve cells. Huntington's disease hampers a patient’s normal abilities and it is characterized by movement, thinking and psychiatric disorders. Predominantly, the signs and symptoms of Huntington's disease appear in adulthood, in the 30s or 50s.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms of Huntington’s disease include 3 main domains:

  • Movement disorder
    • Involuntary jerking
    • Muscle problems
    • Impaired gait, posture and balance
    • Difficulty with the physical production of speech or swallowing (Read more: Difficulty swallowing treatment)
  • Cognitive (thinking) disorder
    • Difficulty organizing thoughts and concentrating on activities
    • Lack of awareness of one's own behaviours and abilities
    • Stumbling
    • Difficulty in adapting new information
  • Psychiatric disorder
    • Irritability
    • difficulty sleeping
    • Social withdrawal
    • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

HD causes dependency in daily activities, ultimately leading to death. The most prominent cause of death is pneumonia.

What are its main causes?

Huntington's disease is an inherited psychiatric disorder. A single inherited faulty gene HTT from either parent causes this disorder in the child.

How is it diagnosed and treated?                                   

The diagnosis of Huntington’s disease is made through clinical signs and symptoms. A precise family history of the patient plays a vital role in confirming the diagnosis. The most recent diagnosis method includes DNA determination which helps to confirm the Huntington’s disease.

HD is currently not reversible. The treatment for HD includes non-therapeutic and therapeutic methods and surgery does not play a vital role.

  • To mitigate hyperactivity olanzapine and pimozide are used.
  • To resolve depression drugs like citalopram and fluoxetine are used.
  • Gene therapy is the most promising treatment and this technique is developed to completely avoid the disease rather than treating it.


  1. National Institutes of Health; [Internet]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Huntington disease.
  2. Raymund A.C. Roos. Huntington's disease: a clinical review. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 5(1):40 · December 2010.
  3. Nopoulos P.C. Huntington disease: a single-gene degenerative disorder of the striatum. Dialogues Clin. Neurosci. 2016;18:91–98.
  4. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Huntington's Disease: Hope Through Research.
  5. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Huntington's Disease Information Page.

Medicines for Huntington's Disease

Medicines listed below are available for Huntington's Disease. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine Name





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