New cases of Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed in 50,000 Americans each year. As a chronic, progressive and debilitating disease, scientists have devoted countless hours to the research needed to slow the progression of this disease. With Parkinson’s affecting both men and women equally, treatment of symptoms and a potential cure is continously researched.
Parkinson’s Disease’s debilitating factors result from a degeneration of the brain cells which produce dopamine. Dopamine, found naturally in the body, is the brain chemical which aides in the communication path, between brain and body, to initiate and control movement in a normal fashion. Without dopamine, the brain and body do not communicate efficiently which results in various symptoms such as tremors, involuntary movements and irregular gait.
In an effort to further cure the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, Teve Pharmaceutical Industries, has developed a new drug, approved by the FDA, called Azilect. I Although,initially approved for use as a single drug therapy in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, it is now recommended as a combination therapy in patients with advanced Parkinson’s who currently take Levodopa. In treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, Azilect, when given once daily, has shown to improve function and, in 46 percent of the cases studied, no additional dopaminergic drug was required. When treated in the first six months, patients showed significantly less symptom progression than patients who were left untreated.
Acting as a MOA-B inhibitor, Azilect works to block the breakdown of dopamine after the body has produced the dopamine chemical. In advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, when used in combination with Levodopa, patients will notice a decrease in the amount of time in the “off” stage which is described as the period when medication begins to wear off resulting in an increase in motor complications including inability to walk, speak, swallow, dress and even get out of bed. In these advanced stages, by using Azilect with Levodopa, the “off” time is substantially decreased allowing for a better quality of life of the Parkinson’s patient.
In terms of side effects, Azilect has shown no side effects nor any indication of the “cheese” effect which comes with other Parkinson’s related treatments in which the patient has an intolerance to tyrosine-containing foods such as cheese, wine and dairy products. Additionally, Azilect has shown some promise in the treatment of dementias and is currently being studied in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and was recently approved in Europe for the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients.
For patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, or if you have a loved one suffering from the disease, consider talking to your doctor about the new FDA approved drug Azilect. Whether in the initial stages of the disease, or advanced progressive Parkinson’s, Azilect may provide a therapy to reduce symptoms and improve “on” time and allow for a better quality of life.