Newswise — Giving Parkinson's patients on levodopa treatment an additional drug called rasagiline once daily can improve their motor function, concludes a study published in this week's issue of The Lancet.
Most patients with established Parkinson's disease receiving long-term treatment with levodopa will eventually have motor fluctuations, defined as periods of the day with poor or absent motor response to their medication (off-time) alternating with periods of clearly improved motor function (on-time). Several drugs (pergolide, pramipexole, ropinirole, entacapone and tolcapone) when added to levodopa have been effective in the management of fluctuations but these drugs only provide partial improvement, leaving patients with clinically significant off-periods, while adding complexity to the treatment schedule. Preliminary data shows that the additional use of rasagiline may be useful in the treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease.
Olivier Rascol (University Hospital, Toulouse, France) and colleagues recruited 687 patients from 74 hospitals and centres in Israel, Argentina, and Europe. 231 individuals were assigned to receive 1 mg of oral rasagiline once daily, 227 to entacapone (200 mg with every levodopa dose) and 229 to a placebo. Both rasagiline and entacapone reduced average daily off-time (