An International Survey-based Algorithm for the Pharmacologic Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors in Huntington's Disease

PLoS Curr. 2011 Sep 20;3:RRN1261. doi: 10.1371/currents.RRN1261.


It is generally believed that treatments are available to manage obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCB's) in Huntington's disease (HD). However, lack of an evidence base prevents guideline development. The research literature fails to address the indications for behavioral interventions, drug selection, drug dosing, management of inadequate response to a single drug, and preferred drugs when additional behavioral symptoms comorbid to OCBs are present. In an effort to inform clinical decision-making, we surveyed an international group of experts to address these points. Survey results showed that experts utilized behavioral therapy only for patients with mild cognitive impairment. There was expert agreement that a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) was the first choice drug, although clomipramine (CMI) was cited as a monotherapy choice by the smaller number of experts familiar with its use. Perceived efficacy for control of OCBs was similar for both SSRIs and CMI. Though less favored choices overall, antipsychotics (APDs) and antiepileptic mood stabilizers (AEDs) were most often used as augmentation strategies. In addition to survey results, this report reviews available studies, and lastly presents an algorithm for the treatment of OCBs in HD based on practice-based preferences obtained from this survey.