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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has won FDA approval of Austedo (deutetrabenazine), a deuterated version of tetrabenazine, which was first identified 50 years ago. The drug is intended to treat involuntary writhing movements, or chorea, in peoples with Huntington’s disease. The six deuteriums replace hydrogen and give the molecule a longer lifetime in the body than tetrabenazine does. Both drugs inhibit a vesicular transporter that regulates dopamine in the brain; neither cure the disease (see page 18).
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