[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 3, 1981

Parkinson's disease: new drugs help but no cure on the horizon

JAMA. 1981;246(1):11-12. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320010005001

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Idiopathic Parkinson's disease is mercurial in its response to long-term symptomatic treatment, with standard dopaminergic pharmacotherapies often causing miserable side effects. But new dopamine agonists that promise less toxicity continue to be synthesized. Prominent among them are Eli Lilly & Company's pergolide mesylate and Schering Aktiengesellschaft's lisuride, both ergot derivatives.

Neurologists and others attending a recent New York symposium on movement disorders cosponsored by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation generally expressed the belief that pergolide is the best new prospect. Several investigators at that symposium reported salutary results of pergolide therapy in patients who had become intolerant of or refractory to levodopa.

As is well known, administration of levodopa (alone or in combination with carbidopa, which prevents it from being metabolized before it crosses the bloodbrain barrier and thus lessens the dosage of levodopa needed) for two to three years or more often