Who has never heard of Parkinson’s disease? Of numerous and famous patients participated in the media coverage of this pathology. Mistakenly, believed that it is limited to earthquakes. Similarly, treatment and therapeutic strategy are often unknown. Doctissimo reviewed drugs used to treat this disease…
Of unknown cause, Parkinson’s disease is characterized by a weakening of the quantities of dopamine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is essential to the communication of nerve cells between them. This lack causes a lack of coordination of the different brain areas involved in the control of skeletal muscles, i.e. the so-called voluntary muscles (the muscles that you control). There is no treatment to cure the disease to date, but it is nonetheless possible to delay its evolution.
From the pharmacological point of view, it is possible to increase the amount of dopamine in the brain or to fight against the consequences of his failure on the balance of the major pharmacological systems of our body. The drugs used are the antiparkinsonian. There are also surgical treatments giving good results in some cases.
Means of action do not fail…
In order to increase the amounts of dopamine available, there are several possibilities:
Increase the amounts of dopamine in the brain by a contribution;
Increase the amount of dopamine in the brain by decreasing its degradation;
To combat the adverse effects of dopamine deficiency.
Logically to treat Parkinson’s disease, make dopamine would seem to be the most appropriate. Unfortunately, dopamine cannot be used because it does not pass the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This uses one of its precursors: levodopa (L-Dopa or dihydroxyphenylalanine) in order to increase the production of dopamine in the brain. This substance used since the 1960s, passes the BBB, is transformed into dopamine, the place where it is lacking in the brain. In the rest of the body, levodopa is destroyed by an enzyme (L-Dopadecarboxylase) which reduces the amount available for the passage in the brain. Therefore levodopa is now systematically associated with another molecule (the benserazide or carbidopa) responsible for inhibiting its degradation by blocking the L-Dopadecarboxylase outside the brain.
Close to the levodopa in the principle of action, molecules that mimic the action of dopamine have also been discovered: these are the dopamine agonists. This class contains several products including apomorphine. Most often, these substances are derived from the ergot, a fungus that parasitizes rye.