The drug appears to be more effective than other dopamine agonists in reducing tremors and movement problems. In addition, unlike current drugs, pramipexole dihydrochloride does not cause lightheadedness resulting from a noticeable drop in blood pressure when a patient stands up. Dr. Kieburtz says that's probably because the drug targets the specific dopamine receptor involved in Parkinson's disease more precisely.
"Pramipexole dihydrochloride had a very good tolerability and safety profile," Dr. Kieburtz says. "We thought this drug would be effective, but we were pleasantly surprised that it works so well. I have many patients who have anxiously waited for this drug to become available." Pramipexole dihydrochloride is the first of several next- generation dopamine agonists being launched by pharmaceutical firms this year.
At the study's outset, 264 patients with symptoms of
early Parkinson's disease who were not being treated with
levodopa were randomly divided into five treatment groups.
Members of one group received a placebo, while those in the other
four groups received daily doses of pramipexole
dihydrochloride. Physicians measured a patient's condition by
monitoring the patient's mood, motor skills, and ability to
perform everyday tasks. Over the 10-week study, patients
receiving pramipexole dihydrochloride improved an average of 2
Contact: Steve Bradt
University of Rochester