Every day we bring to you the new developments happening in the world of the Huntington’s disease where research is happening rapidly to find a cure for the ailment. Now, a new development has happened which involves the use of rilmenidine, as a medicine for improving the symptoms of this disease. Rilmenidine has been used as a blood pressure medication so far. The drug has been tested on animals for treating this disease and now it has been tested on humans also. Discussing the test in detail, a small group of patients was selected for this study.
The results of this study “An open-label study to assess the feasibility and tolerability of rilmenidine for the treatment of Huntington’s disease”, were, included in the journal “Journal of Neurology”. However, although this study has been conducted on a small number of human beings; for getting determinable results about the efficacy of the drug, a higher number of patients will be required than those included in this study. This study included researchers from the University of Cambridge of UK and the test subjects were patients of HD. The patients were given 1 mg oral doses of Rilmenidine until the time of 6 months.
After that period, they were given a dose of 2 mg for a period of one and a half years. So, after 24 months had elapsed, the patients were then treated to a wash-out for a period of 3 months during which the use of drugs was discontinued. The patients were chosen from the Addenbrooke’s Hospital and had exhibited the symptoms of this disease from low to major degrees. The patients were assessed for the effects of this drug after every 3 months in the 1st year. After that, in the second year, the effects of the drug were evaluated in the patients after 6 months.
The last time the patients were tested was after the end of the washout period. The results were measured in terms of the effects of withdrawal from the drug if any serious effects were caused. The results were also obtained in terms of the improvement in these HD patients as far as their motor, and functional and understanding abilities were improved. Out of the 18 patients who were chosen for this study, only 12 were able to undergo the complete study.
The rest of the patients could not complete the study because they could not tolerate the procedures of collection of blood samples, MRI and suffered from depression which was due to their admission to hospital. However, the rest of the patients showed a decreased rate of change in the brain including brain muscle degeneration. In fact, there was also a reduction in the tools which are used for the assessment of this disease Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale(UHDRS) and Mini-Mental State Examination(MMSE).
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