Treatments with potential neuroprotective capability for Parkinson's disease (PD) have been investigated in randomized, controlled, clinical trials and other studies since the mid-1980s. Although promising leads have arisen, no therapy has been proven to halt or slow disease progression. Several large-scale studies have highlighted progress in methodology, as well as the frustrations of translating laboratory science to practical applications. This review summarizes findings from clinical trials with several classes of compounds, including monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors (selegiline, lazabemide, rasagiline), dopaminergic drugs (ropinirole, pramipexole, levodopa), antioxidant strategies (alpha-tocopherol), mitochondrial energy enhancers (coenzyme Q(10), creatine), antiapoptotic agents (TCH346, minocycline, CEP-1347), and antiglutamatergic compounds (riluzole). Beyond small-molecule pharmacology, gene therapy approaches, such as delivering neurotrophic substances (e.g., neurturin) by viral vector, are the next generation of treatment options.
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