There are no systematic studies of the therapeutic benefit of antidepressant use in Huntington’s people. It is unfortunate that the Iowa study did't take this next step. The best alternative is to learn from studies done in Parkinson’s (PD), a neurodegenerative disease similar to HD. In Parkinson’s it has been shown that depression is associated with more rapid disease progression (Starkstein et al 1990; Starkstein et al 1992). Importantly, treatment with the SSRI citalopram (Celexa®) improved (bradykinesia) motor symptoms and mood in both depressed and non-depressed PD patients (Rampello et al 2002).Comment Huntington’s families know first hand that depression in HD is common; much more so than this study using self-reported data suggests. We also know that depression is frequent and profound for those at genetic risk, and for spouses and partners. What we need to remember is that depression is treatable, and that antidepressant drugs are far too underused. They can probably slow down nerve damage. My opinion is that they should be considered a first line treatment for Huntington’s, and offered at every doctor’s visit. If the doctor doesn’t offer, you should ask. The Report
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