New drugs may improve quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease

Three studies released today present possible positive news for people with Parkinson's disease. The studies, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013, report on treatments for blood pressure problems, the wearing-off that can occur when people have taken the main drug for Parkinson's for a long time, and for people early in the disease whose symptoms are not well-controlled by their main drugs.

"All of these treatments are promising news for people with Parkinson's disease, which is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's disease," said Robert A. Hauser, MD, MBA, of the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, who was an author of all three studies.

The first study dealt with the rapid drop in blood pressure that people with Parkinson's can experience when standing up, which can lead to dizziness, fainting and falls. The problem, which affects about 18 percent of people with the disease, occurs because the fails to respond to changes in by releasing enough of the chemical .

In the study, 225 people were randomized to receive either eight weeks of stable dose treatment with a placebo or the droxidopa, which converts to norepinephrine. After one week of stable treatment, those who received the drug had a clinically meaningful, two-fold decrease in the symptoms of and lightheadedness, when compared to placebo. They also had fewer falls, or 0.38 falls per patient per week, compared to 1.73 for those receiving a placebo on average over the entire 10-week study duration.

The second study looked at treatment with a new drug for "wearing-off" that occurs with people who have been taking for several years. As each dose wears off, people experience longer periods of time where the motor symptoms do not respond to levodopa. For the study, 420 people who were experiencing an average of six hours of "off" time per day received a placebo or one of four dosages of the drug tozadenant in addition to their levodopa for 12 weeks. People receiving two of the dosages of the drug had slightly more than an hour less off time per day at the end of 12 weeks than they had at the start of the study. They also did not have more troublesome involuntary movements during their "on" time, called dyskinesia, that can occur.

The third study looked at 321 people with early Parkinson's disease whose symptoms were not well-controlled by a dopamine agonist drug. For the 18-week study, the participants took either the drug rasagiline or a placebo in addition to their dopamine agonist. At the end of the study, those taking rasagiline had improved by 2.4 points on a Parkinson's disease rating scale. In addition, rasagiline was well tolerated with adverse events similar to .

Related Stories

Drug reduces daily 'off' time for Parkinson patients

Apr 02, 2007

Parkinson disease patients taking the drug, ropinirole 24-hour prolonged release significantly reduced their daily "off" time in which Parkinson's symptoms like tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking difficulty return as ...

Investigational drug may reduce involuntary movements

Apr 12, 2011

Results of the first randomized, placebo-controlled long-term clinical trial show the investigational drug safinamide may reduce dyskinesia or involuntary movements in mid-to-late stage Parkinson's disease. The findings will ...

Recommended for you

Weight and eating habits in Parkinson's disease

Nov 20, 2014

Patients affected by Parkinson's disease often show marked changes in body weight: they may gain or lose a lot of weight depending on the stage of the disease, or they may put on up to ten kilos after deep brain stimulation ...

Scientists create Parkinson's disease in a dish

Nov 06, 2014

A team of scientists led by The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute successfully created a human stem cell disease model of Parkinson's disease in a dish. Studying a pair of identical ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.