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Epilepsy Drug Helps Parkinson Tremors

Researchers discover a drug used to treat epilepsy can significantly improve tremors, motor fluctuations, and other involuntary movements, or dyskinesias, in patients with Parkinson disease. The finding comes from a three-month study of Parkinson disease patients who were administered the drug zonisamide or placebo.

The multi-center study in Japan involved 279 Parkinson disease patients who weren’t responding well to the commonly used drug, levodopa, to manage their symptoms. The patients were divided into groups that took 25, 50 or 100 mg a day of zonisamide or placebo.

Researchers found at least 30 percent of patients taking zonisamide experienced a more than 30-percent reduction in their score on a rating scale used to follow the progression of a person’s Parkinson disease. The most significant improvement was seen in the group taking 50 mg of zonisamide a day. That group saw a nearly 40-percent improvement in the score.

“Zonisamide treatment improved all main Parkinson disease symptoms in these patients, including tremor and other disabling dyskinesias. This is consistent with findings from other, smaller studies,” said lead author Miho Murata, MD, PhD, with the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo, Japan.

“Zonisamide is safe, effective, and well tolerated at 25 to 100 mg a day as an added treatment in patients with Parkinson disease.”

While this study lasted only 12 weeks, Murata says their preliminary data shows the benefits of zonisamide observed at 12 weeks were maintained for more than a year in all 17 patients involved in a study on the long term effects of zonisamide on Parkinson disease.

Murata says it’s not fully understood yet as to why zonisamide helps Parkinson disease symptoms and further study is needed to clarify the mechanism behind the drug’s benefits.

The study was published in the January 2, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Epilepsy Drug Helps Parkinson Tremors

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Epilepsy Drug Helps Parkinson Tremors. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 9, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/01/03/epilepsy-drug-helps-parkinson-tremors/519.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.