Common asthma medication may lower Parkinson’s disease risk
The takeawaySalbutamol, one of the most common treatments for asthma, may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Why is it important?Drugs developed to treat one disease often hold promise for treating other diseases. These results lay the foundation for further investigation of salbutamol while also revealing an important molecular mechanism in Parkinson’s.
- Novelty 90%
- Proximity 60%
- Deliverability 90%
Impact Opinion“The trial provided additional support for further study of Exenatide and other GLP-1 agonists (a common category of diabetes drugs) for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Results from this study as well as previous work is promising; however, more research is needed to fully understand if Exenatide is slowing the disease’s progress.” Dr. Patrik Brundin
Exenatide is already approved to treat diabetes. However, until additional studies are completed, the authors urge caution in adding Exenatide to Parkinson’s disease treatment regimens.
BackgroundClumps of abnormal alpha-synuclein proteins in brain cells are a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. It is thought that problems with cells’ ability to produce energy interferes with normal cellular housekeeping, allowing alpha-synuclein to stick together and build up. Over time, these clumps, called Lewy bodies, create inflammation and damage or kill the cells, leading to the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms.
The detailsScientists have long searched for ways to clear abnormal alpha-synuclein out of brain cells in an effort to prevent inflammation and cell death. To this end, the study authors grew brain cells in the laboratory and treated them with more than 1,100 difference substances, including medications and vitamins, to see which ones impacted the levels of alpha-synuclein.
Salbutamol, a common asthma treatment, appeared to affect the activity of the alpha-synuclein gene, which controls production of the protein.
To see how salbutamol use might affect risk, the authors analysed the Norwegian Prescription Database, which contrains information on all drugs prescribed in Norway since 2004. They determined that people who had taken salbutamol at least once were about a third less likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who had never used salbutamol.