Your Health: New drug may lessen side effects of Parkinson’s disease drug

Your Health: New drug may lessen side effects of Parkinson’s disease drug
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:41 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Roughly one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s disease.

The most effective drug available can cause side effects and effectiveness can wane after several years. In some cases, higher doses can lead patients to experience involuntary, erratic movements, but a new drug is offering some promise.

With a solid pool game and a smooth golf swing, you would have never thought Wayne Holt, 70, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for more than 20 years.

“I used to be a racquetball player and I couldn’t keep up with the ball anymore,” Holt said. “I decided I needed to find a sport where the ball sits still until I hit it.”

He had first noticed his symptoms when he was out at lunch with a friend.

“When I lift my drinking glass, my hand really had a tremor to it,” Holt recalled.

“Parkinsonian tremors are due to too much brake and not enough gas,” said Dr. Craig Lindsley. “When people try to do personal movement, they get shaking because the brake is being applied as they’re trying to apply the gas.”

Craig Lindsley, the Director at Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery.

Levodopa has been the gold standard when it comes to treating Parkinson’s symptoms, but after several years, efficacy can fade and long-term use may lead to side effects -- such as dyskinesia, hallucination, delusions and sleep problems.

Researchers are testing a new drug called AP-472.

“This is really different because it’s not dopamine replacement therapy,” Lindsley explained. “We’re targeting this overactive synapse and bringing that gas and brake back into balance.”

The drug is designed to be given along with Levodopa to increase its effectiveness and limit negative side effects. For Holt, who suffers from dyskinesia, a drug like this can be a game-changer.

“The more we can do, the more likely we are to cure this thing,” Holt said.

AP-472 is an oral daily drug. The phase one trial will give the drug to healthy young, middle-aged and elderly adults to evaluate its safety. It will then move to phase 1B and phase 2 where it will be given to Parkinson’s patients.

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