New Avenue for Parkinson’s Research?

In recent years the diabetes drug Exenatide had been a potential avenue for the management of Parkinson’s disease. Due to the small scale nature of previous initial investigations, larger studies were needed to demonstrate a proof of concept, and allow the potential treatment to progress to the next level. Now that has happened.

Dr Folynie, his team and esteemed colleagues, have published the results of the first ever randomised, placebo-controlled trial of exenatide as a potential disease-modifying drug in Parkinson’s disease. The study has been published in the Lancet and is titled “Exenatide once weekly versus placebo in Parkinson’s disease: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial“. The study was a success as the team replicated the results of the initial, smaller scale clinical studies. The patients with Parkinson’s disease who were given exenatide had improvements in their off-medication motor scores.

It is still unclear if the drug affects the progression of the disease or if it simply offers symptomatic relief. This will be the direction of future investigation. For now, the drug remains unlicensed for the treatment of PD however it looks promising that this may change in the future.