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August 21, 1987

... As Neurologists Test Two New Drugs

JAMA. 1987;258(7):881-882. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400070017004

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SURGERY MAY NOT be the only way to arrest the progression of Parkinson's disease.

The National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md, has selected two experimental drugs—selegiline (Deprenyl) and tocopherol—that it thinks may be able to halt the disorder in patients with early-stage disease. It has allocated $10 million for a five-year study of the efficacy of these agents in 800 such patients.

Ira Shoulson, MD, professor of neurology, University of Rochester (NY) College of Medicine and Dentistry, told those attending the Second International Symposium on Transplantation Into the Mammalian Central Nervous System why the two drugs were selected. He explained that in animal studies pretreatment with selegiline, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, has prevented the development of parkinsonian signs that are usually induced by the administration of 1-methyl-4 phenyltetrahydropyridine (MPTP). Moreover, preliminary studies in humans have indicated that selegiline