Lead investigator Dr. Michael Schwarzschild of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues said the findings suggest the drug might be a potential strategy to slow the disability progression of the degenerative neurological disorder.
Animal experiments suggest that urate may protect against Parkinson's disease, and higher blood urate levels are associated with reduced risk and slower progression of Parkinson's disease, Schwarzschild said.
Inosine is a drug that raises urate levels and therefore may be useful for Parkinson's disease, he said.
Previous research showed that higher levels of the antioxidant urate were associated with lower risk and slower progression of Parkinson's disease.
Inosine is a drug that raises urate levels and therefore may be useful for Parkinson's disease.
Researchers in the Parkinson Disease Study Group Safety of Urate Elevation in Parkinson's disease, trial randomized 75 patients with early Parkinson's disease, -- average age 62 and not yet requiring treatment for their symptoms -- to placebo or doses of inosine to produce mild or moderate elevation in blood urate levels to examine the safety, tolerability and ability of inosine to elevate urate levels. Patients were administered inosine in 500-milligram capsules taken orally.
The study, published in JAMA Neurology, found blood urate levels rose by 2.3 and 3.0 mg/dL in the two inosine groups vs. placebo, and cerebrospinal fluid urate levels were greater in both inosine groups.
Seventeen serious adverse events occurred at the same or lower rates in the inosine groups compared to placebo. The treatment also was tolerated by 95 percent of patients at six months and no participants withdrew because of an adverse event, the study said.
"The results of the SURE-PD trial demonstrate that oral inosine treatment in early Parkinson's disease is clinically safe and tolerable and produces an increase in serum and CSF urate," the researchers wrote in the study.
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