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Sept 1, 1969

New Approaches in the Treatment of Parkinsonism

JAMA. 1969;209(9):1358-1359. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160220048014

Medical treatment of parkinsonism has been limited until recently to drugs which inhibit the stimulatory activity of acetylcholine in the corpus striatum. Differing from each other in degree rather than in kind, these medications, though beneficial, were rarely productive of dramatic results. Of greater therapeutic promise are two currently investigated substances which differ in their biochemical structure and pharmacologic properties.

The best known of the newer drugs for the treatment of parkinsonism is levodopa (L-DOPA). Hailed by some as "the most important contribution to medical therapy of a neurologic disease in the past 50 years," and more modestly appraised by others as a drug which "has a place" in the treatment of this disease, levodopa exerts its effect by correcting abnormal biochemical mechanisms in the metabolism of its derivative, dopamine. The latter, a precursor of norepinephrine, is also an important agent in its own right, acting in all probability as