A National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial with 200 Parkinson's disease patients has shown that creatine and minocycline may warrant further consideration for study in a large trial, according to Karl Kieburtz, M.D., M.P.H., University of Rochester, who spoke at the World Parkinson Congress on behalf of the trial investigators. Study investigators caution that while the news is encouraging, the results do not demonstrate that these agents are effective in Parkinson's disease. This study was designed to determine whether to invest resources in finding out if creatine and minocycline are effective treatments for Parkinson's Disease. Studies to determine the effectiveness of a drug typically require hundreds of patients followed for many years. Study findings are available online and will be published in the March 14 issue of Neurology.
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain in which patients may develop progressive tremor, slowness of movements, and stiffness of muscles. It affects approximately 1 percent of Americans over the age of 65. Although certain drugs, such as levodopa, can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's, no treatment has been shown to slow the progressive deterioration in function.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has organized a nationwide multi-center effort called NET-PD (Neuroprotection Exploratory Trials in Parkinson's Disease), a randomized, double-blind futility trial, to study compounds that may slow the clinical decline of Parkinson's disease. As the initial step in these efforts, creatine and the antibiotic minocycline were identified as agents worthy of preliminary study. Patients very early in the disease course who did not yet need medications typically used to treat their Parkinson's symptoms were included in the study.
Based on the initial analyses of the pilot studies, creatine and minocycline have passed the first hurdle. Additionally, the NINDS has supported a pilot study of two other compounds, Coenzyme Q10 and GPI-1485, and the investigators are currently analyzing the data. The NINDS and the consortium are already planning a large long-term study of neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease.
Marian Emr or
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