Promising Research: Diabetes Drug Shows Potential in Slowing Parkinson’s Progression

Diabetes Drug Shows Potential in Slowing Parkinson’s Progression | Healthcare 360 Magazine

Researchers have uncovered potential in a diabetes drug akin to those used in weight loss injections, suggesting it could help decelerate the progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition characterized by the gradual loss of brain nerve cells leading to movement difficulties, balance issues, and memory impairment, affects over 10 million individuals worldwide. Despite available symptom management therapies, a cure remains elusive.

Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists Have Emerged

In recent years, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1R agonists) have emerged as a source of excitement. Notably, exenatide, a type 2 diabetes drugs, demonstrated promise in slowing motor symptom progression among individuals with Parkinson’s. Now, researchers propose another GLP-1R agonist, lixisenatide, as a potential candidate, suggesting a link between Parkinson’s and brain insulin resistance.

Lead investigator Prof. Wassilios Meissner of the University Hospital of Bordeaux expressed enthusiasm over the findings, characterizing them as significant and unprecedented, akin to the outcomes observed with exenatide.

While GLP-1R agonists like semaglutide and liraglutide have gained prominence in managing type 2 diabetes and aiding weight loss, their limited ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier renders them less suitable for Parkinson’s treatment compared to exenatide and lixisenatide.

Parkinson’s Breakthrough: Diabetes Drug Slows Progress

Published Study

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, French researchers randomly assigned 156 recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients to receive either lixisenatide injections or a placebo alongside their standard medication regimen.

Over 12 months, participants underwent motor symptom assessments, revealing that those receiving lixisenatide exhibited minimal motor function deterioration, whereas the placebo group experienced worsening symptoms. The difference persisted even after cessation of the trial and overnight discontinuation of other Parkinson’s medications, suggesting potential neuroprotective effects of lixisenatide.

Highlighting a Notable Drawback

However, adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting were reported by a significant portion of lixisenatide recipients, highlighting a notable drawback.

Further investigations are warranted to ascertain lixisenatide’s efficacy in slowing disease progression, its long-term benefits, optimal dosing strategies, and potential applicability across different Parkinson’s stages.

Prof. Heather Mortiboys from the University of Sheffield, unaffiliated with the study, lauded the results as a promising step forward, advocating for larger phase 3 clinical trials to validate lixisenatide’s efficacy and solidify its role in Parkinson’s management.

The study underscores the growing body of evidence supporting GLP-1R agonists’ potential in Parkinson’s treatment, offering hope for future therapeutic avenues in combating this debilitating neurodegenerative disease.

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