Nov 14, 2018 | Updated: 03:14 AM EDT

Diabetes drug may help Parkinson’s patients

Jul 28, 2015 10:45 PM EDT

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A type of diabetes drug that includes brands like Actos and Avandia, could prove beneficial for individuals with Parkinson's disease, a recent study published in the journal Plos One reveals. The study involved 44,600 Briton diagnosed with diabetes who were prescribed with glitazone drugs. Their health records (tracked from 1999, the year glitazone was introduced in the market, until 2013) were then compared to the records of 120,000 diabetic patients who did not take glitazone . 

"We often hear about negative side-effects associated with medications, but sometimes there can also be unintended beneficial effects," Dr Ian Douglas, lead researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, noted.

"Our findings provide unique evidence that we hope will drive further investigation into potential drug treatments for Parkinson's disease," he continued.

The results showed that those who took glitazones shrunk their chances of getting diagnosed of Parkinson's by as much as 28 percent. According to Dr Ruth Brauer, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in London, the effect of glitazone eventually diminishes once the patient ceases taking it or switches to another type of drug. 

Dr Minisha Sood, a diabetes expert and an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, was elated about this finding, calling it "an exciting development because it suggests that glitazones may prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease in patients with diabetes."

Nevertheless, further studies need to be conducted to ensure the efficacy of the diabetes drug against Parkinson's.

"Studies in non-diabetic patients should be conducted to examine whether glitazone medications would be effective for that population in the prevention of Parkinson's disease," Sood continued.

While the study did not explained how glitazone prevents Parkinson's disease, still, the drug shows the promise that it has the potential of protect the brain. 

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease in the nervous system that causes an individual to tremor, become sluggish and stiff. 

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