GLP-1 agonists are a new class of injectable drugs that mimic the functioning of incretin hormone, a hormone that stimulates insulin secretion after meals. GLP-1 agonist (such as exenatide) is commonly prescribed to people with Type 2 Diabetes along with pills to control blood sugar levels. A recent research study published in The Lancet has found that GLP-1 agonist exenatide can help relieve people with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, auto-degenerative condition in which important nerve cells of the brain are destroyed. This degeneration of nerve cells leads to tremors, stiffness in the muscles, affected body movement, chronic fatigue, loss of sleep and loss of posture. The study has shown that GLP-1 agonist exenatide can improve the motor response of people with Parkinson’s disease. Current methods of treatment for Parkinson’s disease could only delay the symptoms but the condition continues to worsen.
This pilot study on exenatide has shown that by far it is the only medication that has given promising results in treating the condition. While recent studies have tried to find a link between insulin dysfunction and impaired brain function, certain Diabetes drugs were purported to helpful in treating Parkinson’s disease. The study was carried out on a group of people between the ages of 25 and 75 and with Parkinson’s disease. The group was administered with exenatide for a substantial period and was found that there was a slight improvement in their body movements. The effect continued in this group even after the drug was stopped for 12 weeks.
This study also suggests that exenatide might not just help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease but may also help slow down the progression of the condition. Properties in exenatide may protect and restore the nerve cell from damage, increase the cell life and can improve motor function in people with Parkinson’s disease. Although this pilot study has shown positive outcomes of exenatide in Parkinson’s disease, its efficacy is yet to be seen.
Source: The Lancet