rasagiline, Azilect

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is rasagiline, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Rasagiline is an oral drug that is used for treating Parkinson's disease. It belongs to a class of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO) that also includes selegiline and tranylcypromine. Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that breaks down serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, tyramine and similar chemicals that serve as neurotransmitters, chemicals that nerves use to communicate with one another. There are two types of monoamine oxidase enzymes, MAO-A and MAO-B. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors inhibit one or both enzymes resulting in increased levels of the chemicals normally broken down by MAO-A or MAO-B. Rasagiline inhibits MAO-B, but it is not clear whether rasagiline also inhibits MAO-A. Rasagiline's exact mechanism of action is not known; however, by inhibiting MAO-B rasagiline reduces the breakdown of dopamine resulting in increased levels of dopamine in the brain. Increased dopamine levels alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Rasagiline was approved by the FDA in May 2006.

What brand names are available for rasagiline?

Azilect

Is rasagiline available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for rasagiline?

Yes

What are the side effects of rasagiline?

The most common adverse effects of rasagiline are:

Rasagiline also may cause low or high blood pressure. A hypertensive crisis may occur if foods high in tyramine are consumed while taking rasagiline. Tyramine in food usually is broken down in the intestine by MAO-A in the intestinal wall as the tyramine is absorbed into the body. There are no adequate studies in humans to determine whether rasagiline also inhibits MAO-A; however, if MAO-A is inhibited, tyramine ingested in food may enter the body in larger amounts and result in a hypertensive crisis. Foods high in tyramine include those that are aged, fermented, pickled, or smoked. Examples include aged cheeses, air-dried meats, sauerkraut, soy sauce, tap/draft beers and red wines. As a precaution, foods high in tyramine should be avoided when taking rasagiline.

Quick GuideParkinson's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Treatment

Parkinson's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Treatment
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