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

March 14, 2013

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 .

Explore further: Investigational drug may reduce involuntary movements

Related Stories

Investigational drug may reduce involuntary movements

April 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

Parkinson's is partly an autoimmune disease, study finds

June 21, 2017
Researchers have found the first direct evidence that autoimmunity—in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues—plays a role in Parkinson's disease, the neurodegenerative movement disorder. The findings raise ...

Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson's disease

June 20, 2017
Parkinson's disease (PD) is commonly thought of as a movement disorder, but after years of living with PD approximately twenty five percent of patients also experience deficits in cognition that impair function. A newly developed ...

Pre-clinical study suggests Parkinson's could start in gut endocrine cells

June 15, 2017
Recent research on Parkinson's disease has focused on the gut-brain connection, examining patients' gut bacteria, and even how severing the vagus nerve connecting the stomach and brain might protect some people from the debilitating ...

Hi-res view of protein complex shows how it breaks up protein tangles

June 15, 2017
Misfolded proteins are the culprits behind amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other neurodegenerative brain disorders. These distorted proteins are unable to perform their normal ...

CRISPR tech leads to new screening tool for Parkinson's disease

June 5, 2017
A team of researchers at the University of Central Florida is using breakthrough gene-editing technology to develop a new screening tool for Parkinson's disease, a debilitating degenerative disorder of the nervous system. ...

Infection with seasonal flu may increase risk of developing Parkinson's disease

May 30, 2017
Most cases of Parkinson's have no known cause, and researchers continue to debate and study possible factors that may contribute to the disease. Research reported in the journal npj Parkinson's Disease suggests that a certain ...

0 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.