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Parkinson's drugs 'don't damage the heart'

Parkinson's drugs 'don't damage the heart'
4th December 2014

A certain type of Parkinson's disease drugs have been found not to cause any damage to the heart in preliminary research.

Non-ergot derived dopamine agonists were frequently used in the past but in recent years scientists have been wary of using them.

A team led by Dr Hilal Erken Pamukcu from Ankara Diskapi Education and Research Hospital in Turkey did a series of tests and discovered that the drug - called either pramipexole or ropinirole - is safe for the heart.

Researchers examined 55 patients who all had Parkinson's disease but were taking different drugs to manage the symptoms. The most common drug is levodopa, which has been proved not to damage the heart or increase the risk of heart failure.

There were three groups - 24 only taking levodopa as a control, 18 using levodopa and pramipexole, and 13 being prescribed levodopa and ropinirole. 

The average age of the individuals was 63 and there was no noticeable differences between the groups, whether by age, sex or blood pressure. 

Having examined the function of the left ventricular, it transpired there was no tangible change between the three groups. However, it must be noted that this research is preliminary and large-scale studies are required before a definitive conclusion can be reached. 

Recent studies had suggested pramipexole increases the chance of heart failure and in 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration warned the public about these potential risks. 

Dr Pamukcu presented these findings at the EuroEcho-Imaging conference, which is held between December 3rd and 6th in Vienna, Austria. 

No cure currently exists for the neurological condition, but treatments are available to manage the symptoms. 

A whole host of wearable technology is being tested to see if it can benefit those with the condition, by monitoring movements and sending this data to experts for analysis. 

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