Investigational agents in the treatment of Parkinson's disease: focus on safinamide
Naveed M Malek, Donald G Grosset
Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, UK
Abstract: The authors review management issues in Parkinson's disease (PD) and provide an overview of the current pharmacological management strategies, with a specific focus on safinamide. Current therapeutic management of PD largely involves strategies to optimize the replacement of deficient dopamine, using levodopa, dopamine agonists, and inhibitors of dopamine-metabolizing enzymes. Currently under investigation for use in the treatment of PD, safinamide has multiple modes of action including monoamine oxidase B inhibition. It is well absorbed orally, has a long plasma half-life, and does not have liver enzyme-inducing or liver enzyme-inhibiting activity. Peak plasma concentration occurs 2–4 hours after single oral doses. Safinamide as monotherapy and as an adjunct to dopamine agonists improves Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor scores. One randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 168 patients given a median safinamide dose of 70 mg/day (range 40–90 mg/day) significantly increased the proportion of responders – defined as patients improving their Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor scores by 30% or more from baseline – after 3 months (37.5% for safinamide versus 21.4% for placebo; P < 0.05). Safinamide increased "on" time with no or minor dyskinesia compared with the placebo in another trial, but dyskinesia severity was not reduced. Safinamide was well tolerated, with an adverse effect profile similar to that of the placebo. Further Phase III trial data for safinamide efficacy is awaited, and will be of interest in a comparison with other developments in PD therapeutics: modified formulations of available compounds, new drug classes such as adenosine receptor antagonists, and gene-based therapies.
Keywords: monoamine oxidase B inhibitors, dyskinesia, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, antiparkinsonian drug