Close
New

Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.

 

Lesch-Nyhan Disease Treatment & Management

  • Author: H A Jinnah, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Amy Kao, MD  more...
 
Updated: Dec 14, 2015
 

Approach Considerations

In Lesch-Nyhan disease, the gross overproduction of uric acid must be controlled to prevent the development of urologic or articular complications. The goal is to maintain uric acid levels in the normal range. A common error is to attempt to suppress uric acid below normal levels, but this approach risks the development of oxypurine stones instead.

The control of uric acid requires 2 important components: (1) inhibiting the metabolism of hypoxanthine and xanthine to uric acid with allopurinol and (2) generous hydration. Generous hydration at all times is essential. Hydration should be increased during periods of increased fluid loss, such as a febrile illness or recurrent emesis.

In patients with Lesch-Nyhan disease, hospital admissions should be limited to those absolutely necessary for medical interventions, because moving these patients into an unfamiliar environment will exacerbate behavioral problems such as self-injury.

Protective devices such as straps or splints should be applied at all times to prevent self-injury; this includes nighttime sleeping periods and also during transfer for any tests. These devices should be viewed as protective devices (rather than restraints) that are permitted in hospitals for patients with developmental disorders. Most patients and families will request them and may become upset if they are removed.

Next

Pharmacologic Therapy

Allopurinol, which inhibits the metabolism of hypoxanthine and xanthine to uric acid by the enzyme xanthine oxidase, is generally effective in limiting hyperuricemia and its consequences. The dose is titrated with the goal of bringing serum uric acid levels into the normal range. Febuxostat is a newer option for patients who cannot tolerate allopurinol.

Despite the combined use of allopurinol and generous hydration, nephrolithiasis still may occur. Several medications are available to mitigate the severity of the neurologic features, though no agent has proved consistently efficacious in all cases. Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or alprazolam, reduce severity and help attenuate anxiety that may indirectly exacerbate the extrapyramidal abnormalities. Antispasticity agents such as baclofen can also be helpful.

Management of behavioral problems

Management of the behavioral problems, particularly the self-injurious behavior, can be very difficult. In general, behavioral problems are best managed with a combination of behavioral-modification techniques and medication. Behavioral extinction methods with positive reinforcement are most beneficial; techniques involving negative reinforcement are not helpful and may even exacerbate the behavior problems. Adjunctive medications, sometimes useful for attenuating problem behaviors, include gabapentin and benzodiazepines. Neuroleptics are sometimes used when problems are particularly severe, although long-term use is discouraged because of side effects.

Previous
Next

Dental, Orthopedic, and Other Interventions

The metabolic defect does not preclude safe application of standard anesthetic or surgical procedures when indicated. Dental work is perhaps the most commonly required surgical intervention in Lesch-Nyhan disease. Dental extraction may be the only procedure for preventing serious tissue injury if self-injurious biting cannot be controlled with behavioral and/or medical therapy.

Orthopedic intervention is often required for management of the consequences of the neurologic disorder. Procedures may be required for release of contractures, reduction of subluxed joints, or stabilization of spinal deformity.

Nephrolithiasis may require surgical intervention for extraction of stones or relief from urogenital obstruction.

Some studies have provided a promising suggestion that deep brain stimulation surgery may be useful for controlling both dystonia and self-injury.[13] The procedure is considered experimental, and further studies are needed before the procedure can be broadly recommended, because the brain targets seem to differ from those used for other disorders.

Previous
Next

Consultations

Genetic counseling is essential for informing the family of the risk of additional children with the disorder.

Consultations with neurologists and physiatrists may be necessary for management of associated motor disorders, and consultations with psychiatrists or psychologists are nearly universally required for management of behavioral disorders associated with Lesch-Nyhan disease.

An orthopedist may be required for joint complications, as well as a urologist for management of kidney stones.

Previous
Next

Diet and Activity

Most patients can be on a normal diet. Dysphagia may be a significant problem, particularly with aging. Some patients respond to changes in the consistency of the diet, while others may require gastrostomy.

Despite their profound motor handicap, most patients with Lesch-Nyhan disease prefer to remain actively engaged in their environments.

Previous
 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

H A Jinnah, MD, PhD Professor, Departments of Neurology, Human Genetics, and Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine

H A Jinnah, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, Society for Neuroscience

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Amy Kao, MD Attending Neurologist, Children's National Medical Center

Amy Kao, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, Child Neurology Society

Disclosure: Have stock from Cellectar Biosciences; have stock from Varian medical systems; have stock from Express Scripts.

Acknowledgements

Robert J Baumann, MD Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics, Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Robert J Baumann, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Child Neurology Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Reference Salary Employment

References
  1. Lesch M, Nyhan WL. A familial disorder of uric acid metabolism and central nervous system function. Am J Med. 1964 Apr. 36:561-70. [Medline].

  2. Jinnah HA, Friedmann T. Lesch-Nyhan disease and its variants. Scriver CR, Sly WS, Childs B, Beaudet AL, et al, eds. The Molecular and Metabolic Bases of Inherited Disease. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2000. Chapter 107.

  3. Jinnah HA, Visser JE, Harris JC, et al. Delineation of the motor disorder of Lesch-Nyhan disease. Brain. 2006 May. 129(Pt 5):1201-17. [Medline].

  4. Jinnah HA, Ceballos-Picot I, Torres RJ, Visser JE, Schretlen DJ, Verdu A, et al. Attenuated variants of Lesch-Nyhan disease. Brain. 2010 Feb 22. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  5. Visser JE, Bar PR, Jinnah HA. Lesch-Nyhan disease and the basal ganglia. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2000 Apr. 32(2-3):449-75. [Medline].

  6. Jinnah HA, De Gregorio L, Harris JC, et al. The spectrum of inherited mutations causing HPRT deficiency: 75 new cases and a review of 196 previously reported cases. Mutat Res. 2000 Oct. 463(3):309-26. [Medline].

  7. Fu R, Jinnah HA. Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in Lesch-Nyhan Disease: Moving Beyond the Gene. J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 7. [Medline].

  8. Fu R, Ceballos-Picot I, Torres RJ, Larovere LE, et al. Genotype-phenotype correlations in neurogenetics: Lesch-Nyhan disease as a model disorder. Brain. 2013 Aug 22. [Medline].

  9. Neychev VK, Jinnah HA. Sudden death in Lesch-Nyhan disease. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2006 Nov. 48(11):923-6. [Medline].

  10. Alford RL, Redman JB, O'Brien WE, et al. Lesch-Nyhan syndrome: carrier and prenatal diagnosis. Prenat Diagn. 1995 Apr. 15(4):329-38. [Medline].

  11. Nyhan WL, Vuong LU, Broock R. Prenatal diagnosis of Lesch-Nyhan disease. Prenat Diagn. 2003 Oct. 23(10):807-9. [Medline].

  12. Schretlen DJ, Varvaris M, Ho TE, Vannorsdall TD, Gordon B, Harris JC, et al. Regional Brain Volume Abnormalities in Lesch-Nyhan Disease and its Variants. Lancet Neurology. 2013.

  13. Deon LL, Kalichman MA, Booth CL, Slavin KV, Gaebler-Spira DJ. Pallidal Deep-Brain Stimulation Associated With Complete Remission of Self-injurious Behaviors in a Patient With Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome: A Case Report. J Child Neurol. 2011 Sep 22. [Medline].

 
Previous
Next
 
Purine metabolic pathways.
A small portion of the lower lip has been disfigured by persistent self-biting.
The distal portions of several fingers are shortened by prior uncontrolled self-biting.
The HPRT gene has 9 exons, with the coding region depicted as light gray boxes. Genetic mutations in Lesch-Nyhan disease and its variants are heterogenous and include point mutations leading to amino acid substitution (yellow circles), point mutations leading to premature stop (red squares), insertions (blue triangles), deletions (white lines), and other more complex changes (not shown).
 
 
 
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.