Rasagiline, Therapeutic Indications

Nowadays the mechanisms of action of rasagiline are not yet fully known. Its effects are thought to be related to its MAO-B inhibitory activity, which would cause an increase in extracellular dopamine levels.
Rasagiline, therapeutic indications

Rasagiline is a drug belonging to the family of irreversible monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. It can be used alone or as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s. When the disease is already in an advanced state, it is used in conjunction with other drugs.

As we will see later and in detail, rasagiline is a selective inhibitor of MAO type B rather than type A. For this reason, it causes an increase in natural substances in the brain, such as monoamines. This medicine comes in the form of tablets to be administered orally. The dosage is usually one tablet once a day, with or without food.

The rasagiline possesses more neuroprotective properties compared to other drugs with the same indication, such as selegiline. The reason lies in the fact that the latter is metabolized with the production of a toxic substance, while this does not happen with rasagiline.

What is Parkinson’s?

Parkinson's in the elderly

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system. It is the second most common disease, after Alzheimer’s disease, and belongs to the so-called movement disorders.

It is a disease characterized by the degeneration of neurons in a particular area called the black substance, which is located in the central part of the brain. Following this loss of substantia nigra, dopamine levels drop considerably. Dopamine is a fundamental neurotransmitter in the transmission of information from the brain to the rest of the body for the execution of movements.

An insufficient amount of dopamine, which is one of the brain’s monoamines, impairs this transmission, as well as the person’s control of movements. All of this causes a number of motor symptoms such as tremor at rest or stiffness.

What is the cause of Parkinson’s?

Although some factors are known that favor its development, the exact cause is not yet known. Among the factors contributing to the appearance of this disease we can mention the following:

  • Age : is an obvious risk factor. The disease usually appears between the ages of 50 and 60. If it occurs before age 50, it is defined as early-onset Parkinson’s.
  • Genetics : 90% of Parkinson’s cases are not related to a genetic alteration. However, in 15-25% of cases a family member has suffered from it in the past.
  • Environmental factors : the continued consumption of well water or exposure to pesticides and herbicides can be risk factors in the development of this disease.

How does rasagiline work?

Parkinson's disease

Rasagiline, as mentioned, is a drug that inhibits monoamine oxidase B. This enzyme is found in the mitochondria of nerve end cells throughout the body, especially in the brain, liver, and intestinal mucosa.

MAOs regulate the breakdown of catecholamines, such as dopamine, serotonin of the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. In the brain, the predominant MAOs are those of type B.

Currently, the exact mechanism of action of this medicine is unknown. Its effects are believed to be related to MAO-B inhibitory activity. This would cause an increase in extracellular dopamine levels.

The increase in dopamine concentration and, consequently, the increase in dopaminergic activity are probably responsible for the beneficial effects of rasagiline observed in dopaminergic motor dysfunction models.

Conclusions on rasagiline

Rasagiline is a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s. It comes in the form of tablets for oral administration. It is generally recommended to always take it at the same time, on an empty stomach or on a full stomach.

Always follow the directions given by your doctor and consult him if in doubt. You will never have to reduce the dose or frequency of taking yourself. Misuse of this medicine can have serious health consequences.

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