Parkinson's Disease Tulip

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Old 01-02-2007, 01:47 AM #1
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Default A New Treatment (but only of symptoms)

Another item in the list of drugs to treat symptoms. I will have a look at it's chemical structure when I get time.
Ron

Updated: New York, Jan 02 01:40London, Jan 02 06:40Tokyo, Jan 02 15:40
Eisai's Zonegran Improved Parkinson's Symptoms, Study Finds

By Nicole Ostrow

Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Eisai Co.'s Zonegran epilepsy treatment reduced tremors and other involuntary movements in patients with Parkinson's disease, a disorder of the brain, a study found.

At least 30 percent of patients taking Zonegran had a more than 30 percent reduction in their score on a rating scale that quantifies progression of Parkinson's, according to research that appears tomorrow in the journal Neurology.

About 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's disease are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the National Parkinson Foundation Web site. An estimated 1.5 million Americans are already living with the disease, which causes shaking, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance. As Parkinson's progresses, existing medicines often become less effective so new treatments are needed, said David Charles, a doctor who treats patients with the disease.

``It's an exciting finding,'' said Charles, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, who wasn't involved in the study. This study ``doesn't get at the big questions of Parkinson's, like what causes the disease or what stops it from progressing, but it adds to our growing list of medications to help the symptoms.''

The study involved 279 patients in Japan whose symptoms weren't adequately controlled by levodopa, an approved treatment for Parkinson's. The patients were divided into four groups receiving 25 milligrams, 50 milligrams or 100 milligrams a day of Zonegran or a placebo for 12 weeks.

Best Outcome

Patients taking 50 milligrams of Zonegran had the best outcome with an almost 40 percent improvement in their score on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, the researchers said.

The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale measures all movement and behavioral aspects of the disease, according to Awakenings, a Parkinson's disease Web site. The primary endpoint of the study was improvement in movement, which is measured by a physician. The most common side effects in the study included drowsiness, weight loss and constipation, the researchers found.

Zonegran ``is safe, effective and well tolerated at 25 to 100 milligrams a day as an added treatment in patients with Parkinson's disease,'' said Miho Murata, the study's lead author and a doctors with the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo, in a statement.

The benefits shown at 12 weeks were maintained for more than a year in 17 patients involved in a study of the long-term effects of Zonegran on Parkinson's disease, he said. Additional research is needed to fully understand how Zonegran works in patients with Parkinson's disease, he said in the statement.

Seizure Approval

Zonegran was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000 to treat partial seizures in adults, and generic versions were sanctioned in December 2005. Sales of Zonegran for the year ended March 31 were 13.1 billion yen, or $110 million, according to Eisai's Web site.

The study was sponsored by Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., which discovered the drug. Elan Corp. licensed the treatment in North America and Europe and Tokyo-based Eisai then purchased the rights to Zonegran from Elan in 2004.

In Japan, the drug is known as Excegran. Dainippon Sumitomo has asked Japanese officials to approve the treatment for Parkinson's disease, according to the company's Web site.

Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells in a part of the brain die or become impaired. The nerve cells normally would produce dopamine, a chemical that allows for smooth and coordinated function of muscles and movement, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. When about 80 percent of the cells that produce dopamine are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear, according to the foundation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York at nostrow1@bloomberg.net .

Last Updated: January 1, 2007 16:07 EST

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Old 01-02-2007, 04:56 AM #2
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A New Treatment (but only of symptoms) ...well, seeing as how this sinemet isn't exactly "working" these days, I'd welcome damn near anything...good to hear from you, Ron.
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