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Pharmacology Section 13. Treatment of motor disorders Treatment of Alzheimer


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Title: Pharmacology Section 13. Treatment of motor disorders Treatment of Alzheimer

PharmacologySection 13. Treatment of motor
disordersTreatment of Alzheimers disease
  • Marta Józwiak-Bebenista
  • Department of Pharmacology
  • Medical University of Lodz

Parkinson's Disease
  • PD belongs to a group of conditions called motor
    system disorders
  • progressive neurologic disorder that affects
    neurons in the part of the brain controlling
    muscle movement.
  • 1-2 of population suffer from this condition

normal, AD, PD, PDdementia
Symptoms of PD
  • Primary symptoms of PD
  • Tremor
  • Muscle rigidity (stiffness or inflexibility)
  • Bradykinesia (slowing of voluntary movement )
  • Postural and gait abnormalities

Causes of PD
  • DA-ergic neurons in substantia nigra and corpus
    striatum (nigrostriatal DA-ergic tract) are
  • nigrostriatal DA-ergic tract - part of the
    extrapyramidal system, responsible for motor
  • 80 of DA-eric neurons are damaged, the symptoms
    of Parkinson disease appear.

Causes of PD
  • The striatum, is also rich in excitatory
    cholinergic neurons that counteract the action of
  • This is the dopamine-acetylocholine balance
  • the dopaminergic system inhibits the
    acetylocholinergic system.

In Parkinsons disease
  • dopaminergic neurons degenerate in nigro-striatal
    dopaminergic tract and the inhibitory influence
    of dopamine on the striatum is diminished,
    resulting in increased activity of excitatory
    cholinergic neurons.

Causes of PD
  • Parkinson's disease may result from a combination
    of genetic and environmental factors.
  • Certain toxins, diseases (viral encephalitis,
    small vascular lesions) and drugs may also cause
    symptoms similar to those of PD.
  • - haloperidol (Haldol)
  • - chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
  • - metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • - prochlorperazine (Compazine)
  • - valproate (Depacon)

Risk factors
  • Age - PD usually affects people over the age of
  • Genetic factors / Heredity
  • Sex - Men are more likely to develop Parkinson's
    disease than women are.
  • Exposure to pesticides and herbicides
  • Reduced estrogen levels
  • Reduced folate levels

Treatment of PD
  • There is no cure for PD, but a variety of
    medications provide dramatic relief from the
  • The strategy of treatment of PD rests on
  • ?dopamine levels in nigro-striatal dopaminergic
  • restoring the correct dopamine-acetylocholine
    balance (through antagonizing the excitatory
    effect of cholinergic neurons)

Drugs used in PD
  • Drugs, which restore the dopamine levels in
    nigro-striatal dopaminergic tract
  • Levodopa (L-dopa) and carbidopa
  • COMT inhibitors
  • Dopamine agonists
  • Amantadine
  • Selegiline
  • Drugs, which restore the dopamine-acetylocholine
  • Anticholinergics

  • the most effective medication for Parkinsons
  • 70-80 of treated Parkinsons patients are on
    levodopa therapy. 
  • Standard release preparations
  • - levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet or Atamet)
  • - levodopa/benserazide (Madopar)
  • Prolonged release preparations
  • - levodopa/carbiopa (Sinemet CR)
  • - levodopa/benserazide (Madopar HBS)

  • Mechanism of actions
  • dopamine doesn't cross
  • the BBB!
  • Levodopa metabolic
  • precursor of DA easily
  • penetrate the BBB into
  • the CNS.

DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors
  • Levodopa combined with DOPA decarboxylase
    inhibitors represent a significant improvement in
    the treatment of PD.
  • Carbidopa
  • Benserazide
  • a smaller dose of levodopa is needed to treat
  • nausea and vomiting often associated with
    levodopa treatment are greatly reduced by the
    presence of DOPA decrboxylase inhibitors. 

  • Actions
  • Levodopa reduces akinesia and
  • rigidity, in smallest degree
  • decreases tremor.
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • well absorbed upon oral administration.
  • should be taken on empty
  • stomach, 45 minutes before a
  • meal. Foods inhibit the
  • absorption from the gut of
  • levodopa and its transport into
  • the CNS.
  • Interactions
  • Vit. B6
  • MAOIs
  • Antidepressants
  • Neuroleptics
  • Hypotensive drugs

Levodopa loses therapeutic efficacy after a long
time of treatment. This means that the length of
time that each dose is effective begins to
decrease, leading to more frequent doses.
  • The adverse side effects
  • CNS
  • - visual and auditory hallucinations,
  • - mood changes (depression, excitation).
  • With increased dosing and prolonged use of
    levodopa, patients experience
  • - dyskinesias (spontaneous, involuntary
    movements) and "on-off" periods when the
    medication will suddenly and unpredictably start
    or stop working.
  • - insomnia and anxiety.
  • Peripheral
  • - nausea, vomiting
  • - low blood pressure.

COMT inhibitors
  • represent a new class of Parkinson's medications
  • they must be taken as an adjunct with

Entacapone (Comtan) Tolcapone (Tasmar)
COMT inhibitors
  • Side effects diarrhea, postural hypotension,
    dyskinesias, insomnia, nausea, hallucinations,
    anorexia, constipation . Tolcapone is hepatotoxic
  • Interaction MAOIs
  • Indication
  • Tolcapone- reduces the frequency of the
    on-offperiods (motor fluctuations)
  • Entacapone- secondary medication delays wearing
    off by prolonging effectiveness of levodopa

Dopamine agonists
  • They mimic the effects of dopamine in the brain
  • The older used in combination with levodopa
  • The side effects
  • similar to those of levodopa,
  • although they are less likely
  • to cause involuntary
  • movements (dyskinesia) and
  • more likely to cause
  • hallucinations, confusion,
  • nausea or orthostatic
  • hypotension.
  • Agonists available in the United States include
  • bromocriptine (Parlodel)
  • pergolide (Permax)
  • New drugs
  • pramipexole (Mirapex)
  • ropinirole (Requip)
  • The newer used alone, as the first-line side
    effects similar to bromocriptine but they are

Amantadine- Symmetrel
  • Side effects
  • difficulty in concentrating
  • confusion, insomnia
  • nightmares, agitation
  • hallucinations 
  • leg swelling
  • mottled skin
  • antiviral drug
  • Mechanism of actions
  • enhences the syntesis and
  • release of DA and improve
  • Dopaminergic neurotransmission.
  • Actions
  • less efficacious than levodopa but it has fewer
    side effects
  • has little effect on tremor but is more effective
    than the anticholinergics against rigitidy and

for people in the latter stages of Parkinson's
disease, if they have problems with dyskinesia
induced by levodopa
Selegiline- Deprenyl
  • selective IMAO-B
  • an adjunct to levodopa therapy,
  • prevent the break down of both naturally
    occurring DA and DA formed from levodopa,
    resulting in ?dopamine levels in the brain
  • Side effects
  • heartburn,
  • nausea,
  • dry mouth,
  • dizziness
  • risk for severe hypertension (only at high doses
    of drug)

- Eldepryl - Atapryl - Carbex
has a mild antidepressant effect. 
  • the main treatment for Parkinson's disease before
    the introduction of levodopa.
  • Mechanism of actions
  • the activity of Ach
  • Actions
  • - used as secondary- adjuvant medications.
  • - they help control tremors in the early stages
    of the disease. 
  • Adverse effects
  • blurred vision, dry mouth, urinary retention)
  • mental problems
  • memory loss,
  • confusion
  • hallucinations.
  • They are not used long-term due to their side

Biperiden HCL (Akineton), Benztropine mesylate
(Cogentin) Procyclidine (Kemadrin),
Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
Over the counter medications
  • Free radicals or reactive oxygen species may be
    harmful to cells and lead to their death.
  • Antioxidants protect nerve cells from oxidative
  • Neuroprotective treatments may be most helpful at
    an early stage of PD.

PharmacologySection 13. Treatment of
Alzheimers disease
  • Marta Józwiak-Bebenista
  • Department of Pharmacology
  • Medical University of Lodz

Alzheimers disease
  • AD it is one of the dementing disorders, which
    are a group of brain diseases that result in the
    loss of mental and physical functions.
  • AD is a progressive disease of the brain that is
    characterized by impairment of memory and a
    disturbance in at least one other thinking
    function (for example, language or perception of

Symptoms of AD
  • Cognitive symptoms
  • - memory loss
  • - disorientation
  • - confusion
  • - difficulty with reasoned thought
  • - loss of language skills.
  • Behavioral symptoms
  • - agitation/anxiety
  • - delusions/hallucinations
  • - depression
  • - insomnia
  • - wandering

The severity of the symptoms increases over
time. The onset of AD is usually very slow and
Causes of AD
  • Neuropathologic causes
  • - beta-amyloid protein (amyloid plaques)
  • - degeneration of cholinergic neurons
  • - atrophy of NA,DA,5-HTergic neurons

- Large amount patologic proteins apolipoprotein
E, presenilins -
Inflammation. - traumatic head
injuries earlier in life.
Causes of AD
  • Age (10 of people over age 65 and 50 of
    those over 85 have AD)
  • Genetic factors
  • Abnormalities in the brain's neurotransmitters,
  • ACh is a critical neurotransmitter in the process
    of forming memories.
  • ACh is abundant in the nerve cells of the
    hippocampus and cerebral cortex, the regions that
    are devastated by AD.

Treatment of AD
  • There is no treatment that will stop or reverse
    the symptoms of AD.
  • The used drugs attempt to slow the progression of
    the disease.
  • These drugs work to maintain levels of
    neurotransmitters in the brain!
  • To increase the activity of cholinergic system we
  • 1. acetylocholine precursors (lecithin, choline)
  • 2. ACh-esterase inhibitors (acetylcholinesterase,
    an enzyme responsible for the destruction of
  • Tacrine (Cognex),
  • Donepezil (Aricept),
  • Rivastigmine (Exelon),
  • Galantamine (Razadyne, Reminyl)

Treatment of AD
  • Side effects of tacrine
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea
  • polyuria
  • diarrhea
  • hepatotoxic
  • The newer anticholinesterase inhibitors
    donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine are better
  • The main side effects are nausea, vomitimg,
  • The newer anticholinesterase inhibitors have
    proved beneficial in improving memory, and have
    fewer side effects.

The newer drugs are not effective for everyone,
and their effectiveness is limited to the early
and middle stages of AD.
Treatment of AD
  • Memantine (Namenda)
  • approved to treat moderate to severe AD,
  • Its effects are independent of acetylcholine and
  • by blocking the NMDA receptors and the effects of
    glutamate, memantine may protect nerve cells from
    excess stimulation by glutamate.

Treatment of AD
  • It is possible to reduce some of the common
    emotional and behavioral symptoms associated with
  • Tranquilizers- reduce agitation, anxiety,
    unpredictable behavior.
  • Benzodiazepines- improve sleeping patterns
  • Antidepressants - treat depression.
  • Other drugs
  • selegiline
  • antioxidants (vit. E, koenzym Q10)
  • anti-inflammatory drugs indometacin (NSAIDs)

Huntingtons disease
Huntington's disease (HD) Huntington disease
Huntington's chorea chorea maior
  • movement disorder associated with defects in the
    basal ganglia
  • inherited neurological disorder
  • appears during adult life
  • one out of every 10,000 Americans has HD

Pathophysiology of HD
  • Imbalance of dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA
  • and perhaps other neurotransmitter in the basal
  • overactivity in dopaminergic nigrostriatal
  • increased responsiveness of postsynaptic dopamine
  • deficiency of a neurotransmitter that normally
    antagonizes dopamine.

Pathophysiology of HD
  • GABA and glutamic acid decarboxylase are reduced
    in the basal ganglia of patients with HD.
  • Ach and choline acetyltransferase are reduced in
    the basal ganglia of patients with HD.
  • Theses deficiencies reduce the inhibitory
    influence on the nigrostriatal dopaminergic
    neurons and lead to the dopamainergic
    hyperactivity associated with Huntingtons

  • The symptoms of HD are suppressed by drugs that
    block dopaminergic receptors and worsened by
    drugs that increase basal ganglia dopaminergic

Treatment of HD
Reduction basal ganglia dopaminergic activity
  • Drugs that deplete central
  • dopamine stores by blocking
  • entry into the neuronal
  • storage vesicles
  • reserpine (small doses of 0.25 mg daily no
    longer used in the UK)
  • tetrabenazine
  • The adverse effects
  • hypotension, depression,
  • sedation, gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • Drugs that block the
  • dopaminergic receptors
  • phenothiazines (e.g. Perphenazine)
  • butyrophenones (e.g. Haloperidol)
  • The adverse effects
  • restlessness, parkinsonism.

Treatment of HD
  • enhance central GABA or Ach activity
  • no consistently beneficial response