Old Drugs, New Uses Is A Trend
It is becoming more and more common to prescribe existing drugs for new uses. Take Lyrica for example; this drug was originally used to treat depression, but it was later discovered that it has therapeutic effects for patients that suffer from pain disorders, such as Fibromyalgia.
This same concept is being suggested for another drug called Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA) or Actigall. The intended use of this drug is for liver disease. It has successfully reduced liver jaundice, ascites, and biliary stasis in patients for decades. It is now believed that this medication can actually slow the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) and the University of York studied the effects of this drug on mutated nerve cells of the LRRK2 gene in fruit flies.
This mutation is the most common cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease. Mitochondria in each cell gives the cell energy it needs to function. The LRRK2 mutation prevents mitochondria from functioning properly, leaving is susceptible to neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s. It is estimated that at least 500,000 people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Heather Mortiboys of SITraN reports; "We demonstrated the beneficial effects of UDCA in the tissue of LRRK2 carriers with Parkinson’s disease as well as currently asymptomatic LRRK2 carrier. In both cases, UDCA improved mitochondrial function as demonstrated by the increase in oxygen consumption and cellular energy levels” (Medical News Today).
Expect this drug to be in high demand in the near future.
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