GENERIC NAME: rasagiline
BRAND NAME: Azilect
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: 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.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Rasagiline is used alone or in combination with levodopa to treat signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common adverse effects of rasagiline are:
- flu like symptoms,
- joint pain,
- upset stomach,
- postural hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when moving from a lying or sitting position to a sitting or standing position, respectively),
- dry mouth,
- vomiting, and
- difficulty moving.
Quick GuideParkinson's Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, and Treatment
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