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Drug delays Parkinson's progression.

Drug delays Parkinson's progression

Preliminary results of a multicenter trial support earlier indications that the drug deprenyl can delay the onset of disability in patients with Parkinson's disease, investigators report in the NOV. 16 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.

The researchers administered deprenyl, the vitamin E derivative tocopherol, or both to 800 patients exhibiting early symptoms of Parkinson's. After a year of treatment, only 97 of 399 subjects on deprenyl or the combination treatment progressed to debility, compared with 176 of 401 patients on tocopherol alone. Caroline M. Tanner of Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, who helps direct the ongoing study, calls the deprenyl results "truly dramatic" and says all subjects are now receiving the drug, with or without tocopherol. Deprenyl is the first drug capable of altering the progression of a neurodegenerative disease, Tanner says.

The FDA last June approved deprenyl as an adjuvant therapy with the drug levodopa in severely ill Parkinson's patients. In August, researchers reported results of a smaller study in which deprenyl alone appeared to delay disease progression (SN: 8/5/89, p.84).
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Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 2, 1989
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