Receptors, Agonists, Inhibitors, Oh My! Understanding the New Medications - PMD Alliance

In 2020, new Parkinson’s medications have been in the news! The FDA has approved multiple medications to treat off time for people with Parkinson’s this year. We have heard from you that this bounty has created some confusion, especially since some of the recently approved medications work in novel ways from existing treatments. So we asked movement disorder specialist Maria Cristina Ospina, MD to help us understand more about the new drugs, how they work, and what the side effects may be.

First up is Nourianz (istradefylline), a once-daily, first-of-its-kind adenosine A2A receptor antagonist. Nourianz (istradefylline) is approved as an add-on treatment to carbidopa/levodopa to increase on time and decrease off time for people with Parkinson’s. Nourianz works by blocking the adenosine A2A receptor to lessen the release of adenosine, and increase the signaling of dopamine. Not so clear? Here is a video of Dr. Ospina breaking things down in layperson’s terms:

If this video is helpful, stay tuned for the release of our The More You Know series, featuring Dr. Ospina and other movement disorder specialists explaining each FDA approved Parkinson’s medication and surgical treatment. We recorded them answering the question, “What do you tell a patient when you prescribe this treatment?” We are creating this collection of short clips so you can watch, re-watch, and share with family members to be more informed and empowered about what’s in your pillbox.

Maria Cristina Ospina, MD, is a movement disorder neurologist in private practice as well as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Arizona. During her medical career Dr. Ospina has been active in medical research, participating in several NIH and pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trials. She has served as an investigator in the Parkinson Study Group as well as an invited speaker on a variety of topics related to movement disorders. She is trained in both the administration of botulinum toxin for dystonia, and the use of Deep Brain Stimulation. She believes in utilizing complementary modalities in Parkinson care and is an advocate for exercise to improve gait, flexibility and mood.

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