Advances in the Pharmacologic Management
of Early Parkinson Disease

Hauser RA, Zesiewicz TA.
From the Department of Neurology Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, University of South Florida and Tampa General Healthcare, Tampa, Florida; Departments of Neurology, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; and the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence.
Neurologist. 2007 May;13(3):126-132.


BACKGROUND:: Levodopa, in combination with a dopa decarboxylase inhibitor, provides the greatest symptomatic benefit with the fewest short-term side effects in the treatment of Parkinson disease (PD). However, the disease continues to progress, and the long-term use of levodopa is associated with the development of motor fluctuations and dyskinesias. REVIEW SUMMARY:: Alternatives to the use of levodopa in early PD include monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitors, dopamine agonists, and amantadine. Although no medication has been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson disease, preclinical studies have demonstrated neuroprotective effects of MAO-B inhibitors, and a recent study of rasagiline found that PD patients treated with rasagiline for 12 months experienced less progression of symptoms than patients treated with placebo for 6 months followed by rasagiline for 6 months. Several clinical trials have demonstrated that the initial use of a dopamine agonist to which levodopa can be added is associated with fewer motor complications than treatment with levodopa alone. In addition, preclinical studies suggest that adjunctive use of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor entacapone when levodopa is first introduced may be associated with fewer motor complications than treatment with levodopa alone. CONCLUSION:: Treatment of early PD with an MAO-B inhibitor, dopamine agonist, or amantadine, may provide useful alternatives to treatment with levodopa. Adding entacapone at the initiation of levodopa therapy may reduce the development of motor complications. Long-term studies are required to evaluate the potential long-term benefits of these treatment strategies.

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Rasagiline (Azilect, Agilect) in early Parkinson's disease

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