The Safety of Deutetrabenazine for Chorea in Huntington Disease: An Open-Label Extension Study

CNS Drugs. 2022 Nov;36(11):1207-1216. doi: 10.1007/s40263-022-00956-8. Epub 2022 Oct 15.


Background: Deutetrabenazine is approved in the USA, China, Australia, Israel, Brazil, and South Korea for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington disease.

Objective: We aimed to evaluate the long-term safety and tolerability of deutetrabenazine for the treatment of Huntington disease.

Methods: This open-label, single-arm, multi-center study included patients who completed a double-blind study (Rollover) and patients who converted overnight from a stable tetrabenazine dose (Switch). Exposure-adjusted incidence rates (adverse events per person-year) were calculated. Efficacy was analyzed using a stable post-titration timepoint (8 weeks). Changes in the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale total motor score and total maximal chorea score from baseline to week 8, as well as those from week 8 to week 145 (or the last visit on the study drug if that occurred earlier), were evaluated as both efficacy and safety endpoints during the study.

Results: Of 119 patients (Rollover, n = 82; Switch, n = 37), 100 (84%) completed ≥ 1 year of treatment. End-of-study exposure-adjusted incidence rates for adverse events in Rollover and Switch, respectively, were: any, 2.57 and 4.02; serious, 0.11 and 0.14; leading to dose suspension, 0.05 and 0.04. Common adverse events (≥ 4% either cohort) included somnolence (Rollover, 20%; Switch, 30%), depression (32%; 22%), anxiety (27%; 35%), insomnia (23%; 16%), and akathisia (6%; 11%). Adverse events of interest included suicidality (9%; 5%) and parkinsonism (4%; 8%). Mean dose at week 8 was 38.1 mg (Rollover) and 36.5 mg (Switch). Mean dose across cohorts after titration was 37.6 mg; at the final visit, mean dose across cohorts was 45.7 mg. Patients showed minimal change in the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale total maximal chorea scores with stable dosing from weeks 8-145 or at the end of treatment, but total motor score increased versus week 8 (mean change [standard deviation]: 8.2 [11.9]). There were no unexpected adverse events upon drug withdrawal, and mean (standard deviation) total maximal chorea scores increased 4.7 (4.6) units from week 8 to 1-week follow-up.

Conclusions: Adverse events observed with long-term deutetrabenazine exposure were consistent with previous studies. Reductions in chorea persisted over time. Upon treatment cessation, there was no unexpected worsening of chorea.

Clinical trial registration: identifier: NCT01897896.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chorea* / chemically induced
  • Chorea* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease* / complications
  • Huntington Disease* / drug therapy
  • Tetrabenazine / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • deutetrabenazine
  • Tetrabenazine

Associated data