A drug used to treat prostate conditions may have “exciting potential” for slowing down Parkinson’s disease, a new report has revealed.
The finding, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, was discovered by an international team of scientists.
The study looked at a drug called terazosin, which is currently used to treat enlarged prostates.
Using a sample of 150,000 people treated for the condition, the researchers found that those who were treated with terazosin were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, compared to those not using the drug.
Additionally, those already diagnosed with Parkinson’s while receiving terazosin for an enlarged prostate appeared to exhibit less severe symptoms and experience slower progression of the disease.
Excitingly, separate research also concluded that the drug was able to slow the loss of brain cells in mice with the disease, as well as increase dopamine levels and mobility.
Speculating on why terazosin might be effective, the scientists said the drug could be boosting an enzyme known as PGK1, which provides brain cells with more energy.
“These exciting results show that terazosin may have hidden potential for slowing the progression of Parkinson’s, something that is desperately needed to help people live well for longer,” said Professor David Dexter, Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK.
“While it is early days, both animal models and studies looking at people who already take the drug show promising signs that need to be investigated further.”
The team are now planning clinical trials in the US to demonstrate whether terazosin can be used as a safe treatment for Parkinson’s disease.