This diabetes drug can slow down worsening of Parkinson's disease | Health - Hindustan Times
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This diabetes drug can slow down worsening of Parkinson's disease

By, New Delhi
Apr 05, 2024 11:41 AM IST

Diabetes drug lixisenatide could slow down progression of Parkinson's disease, a development that's considered a significance step in the disease's management.

In what could be termed as a significant step towards management of Parkinson's disease, a new study done by French researchers has found out that diabetes drug lixisenatide can slow down progression of symptoms of the degenerative brain condition.

Studies have shown connection between diabetes and Parkinson's disease. People who have both the disorders, register rapid deterioration in symptoms compared to those who just suffer from Parkinson's. (Freepik)
Studies have shown connection between diabetes and Parkinson's disease. People who have both the disorders, register rapid deterioration in symptoms compared to those who just suffer from Parkinson's. (Freepik)

The study published in The New England Journal of Medicine picked 156 people for the investigation with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease symptoms and those who were on Parkinson's drugs. While half of this group were given the said GLP-1 drug for a year, the other half received a placebo. After a year, those who did not receive the diabetes drug showed deterioration in their symptoms by three points on the severity scale of the degenerative disease, while the other group showed no progression in symptoms. However, researchers also noted side effects of lixisenatide. Around 46% of the people who received this drug experienced nausea, while around 13% had symptoms of vomiting. (Also read | Parkinson's disease may be detectable 20-30 years sooner than clinical diagnosis: Study)

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Lixisenatide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. GLP-1 encourages release of insulin from the pancreas, increasing the volume of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin and reduces the release of glucagon.

Studies have shown connection between diabetes and Parkinson's disease. People who have both the disorders, register rapid deterioration in symptoms compared to those who just suffer from Parkinson's. A progressive neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson's affect central nervous system and the telltale signs include tremor in one hand, slow movements, stiffness in body parts and issues with balance and coordination. In the more advanced stages, legs can stiffen to the point which can make walking and maintaining balance while standing impossible, necessitating the use of wheelchairs.

“For 30 years, we have been trying to understand how to slow the decline associated with Parkinson’s disease over time. In this context, the positive results of the Lixipark phase 2 trial showing less progression of motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease over a year constitute a significant step forward in the future management of the disease. We look forward to confirming these encouraging results in the future, in order to translate such findings into clinical practice," Professors Wassilios Meissner and Olivier Rascol, principal investigators of the study were quoted by The Guardian as saying.

“We’re all cautious. There’s a long history of trying different things in Parkinson’s that ultimately didn’t work,” he says. A difference of three points in the rating score is a small change — one that many people with Parkinson’s would struggle to notice, he says. “What happens at 5 years? Is it 15 points then, or is it still 3? If it’s still 3, then this is not worth it," David Standaert, a neurologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the trial, was quoted by Nature as saying.

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