An Update on the Treatment of Chorea

Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2018 Sep 25;20(10):44. doi: 10.1007/s11940-018-0529-y.


Purpose of review: There are many causes for chorea, including genetic, autoimmune, pharmacological, and structural lesions. Where appropriate, treatment is based on reversing the underlying cause of chorea; many cases are self-limited, resolving when the primary disorder is treated. This review focuses on the management of chorea due to untreatable causes.

Recent findings: There are a limited number of double-blind randomized control trials assessing the efficacy of specific chorea treatments. Most therapeutic recommendations are based on small open-label studies, case reports, and expert opinion. This is in part due to the heterogeneity of chorea and chorea-associated syndromes and the variety of neurodegenerative phenotypes with variable progression rates. Chorea can be treated with a variety of medications ranging from antiepileptics to antipsychotics. The recent development of selective vesicular monoamine transporter blocking agents has allowed for targeted chorea management with minimal side effects. Neurosurgical interventions such as deep brain surgery (DBS) and pallidotomy are reserved for medication-refractory chorea. As a symptom of neurodegenerative disease, chorea is only one aspect of the basal ganglia syndromes, and often, a multidisciplinary approach tailored to individual patient needs provides the best management.

Keywords: Chorea; Deep brain stimulation; Deutetrabenazine; Valbenazine.

Publication types

  • Review