Immunosuppressants may provide protection against risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study. People who take drugs that “dampen down” the immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
A new study research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis by Senior author Brad Racette and colleagues have discovered a link between the use of immunosuppressants and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease.
The authors believe that these findings shade light on the immune system’s contribution to the condition. They say that immunosuppressant treatments could help in providing protection or slowing down development of Parkinson’s.
According to researchers, suppressing the immune system using drugs may prevent the neurological disorder that has characteristic symptoms of slow movements, difficulty walking, tremors, and stiffness. Nearly 1 million people in the United States are affected by the condition.
Racette and colleagues investigated Medicare Part D prescription drug data from 48,295 Parkinson’s patients in 2009 and 52,324 people who had not been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
They found that 26 patients prescribed immunosuppressant drugs were less likely to develop Parkinson’s compared to those who used no immunosuppressants.
“What we really need is a drug for people who are newly diagnosed, to prevent the disease from worsening,” Racette said. “It’s a reasonable assumption that if a drug reduces the risk of getting Parkinson’s, it also will slow disease progression, and we’re exploring that now.”
Racette also says, “It’s too early to be thinking about clinical trials to see whether it modifies the disease,” “but the potential is intriguing.”
Sarah Buscaino is a seasoned journalist with 10 years experience as a reporter and investigative journalist. While studying journalism in Toronto, Sarah got her break as an intern at CITY TV. As a contributor to Island Daily Tribune, Sara covers municipal and provincial politics.