In a nutshell
This study looked at the effectiveness of droxidopa (Northera) at improving symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The study concluded that patients treated with droxidopa in addition to their usual treatment had improved motor function compared to those treated with placebo (substance with no active effect)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with a decrease in certain neurotransmitters (chemical signals in the brain) including dopamine and norepinephrine. The main therapy for PD, levodopa, increases dopamine levels but not norepinephrine.
Droxidopa increases the levels of norepinephrine in the brain. It could potentially improve disease symptoms, such as problems with movement. There is very little research, however, showing the effect of droxidopa at treating PD symptoms.
Methods & findings
This trial included a total of 219 patients. 109 were treated with droxidopa as well as their usual standard treatment. 110 were treated with a placebo as well as their standard treatment. Patients were followed-up after 14 and 57 days to measure changes in mood, behavior, and motor function.
Droxidopa significantly improved motor function and daily functioning after both 14 and 57 days of treatment. Stiffness, tremor and motor hand function were significantly improved in patients treated with droxidopa compared to placebo. There were no significant changes to mood or behavior.
There was no significant difference in the rate of side effects between the two groups. The most common side effects with droxidopa were gastrointestinal effects, dizziness, and heart palpitations.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that droxidopa was effective and safe at improving PD symptoms such as motor function and activities of daily living.
Published By :
Parkinsonism & related disorders
Oct 01, 2015
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