The dopamine agonist pramipexole can alleviate depression and improve the motor skills of people with Parkinson’s disease, a study has found.
Research published in the British Medical Journal’s Online First and The Lancet Neurology used a randomised trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of the treatment for depressive symptoms in patients with mild to moderate PD.
It found that pramipexole significantly improved mental health and motor skills when compared with a placebo.
Study leader Paolo Barone from the University of Naples, Italy, said: “These results suggest that specific stimulation of dopaminergic pathways as provided by pramipexole should be considered in the management of patients with PD and clinically significant depressive symptoms.”
He added that the investigation, the first to show the direct benefits of a dopamine agonist in patients with PD, showed the drug had the potential to become an important treatment.
Depression is common in patients with PD, affecting about 35% of sufferers.