Ropinirole therapy for Parkinson's disease

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Ropinirole (Requip®, GlaxoSmithKline) is a novel nonergoline dopamine D2 agonist indicated for the treatment of early and advanced Parkinson's disease. It is mainly metabolized by the liver and its elimination half-life is approximately 5.8 h. When used as monotherapy in early Parkinson's disease, ropinirole improves signs and symptoms of the disorder. When used as an adjunct to levodopa in advanced Parkinson's disease patients with motor fluctuations, ropinirole reduces off time and allows a reduction of levodopa dose. The initial use of ropinirole in early Parkinson's disease to which levodopa is added when necessary, has been demonstrated to lead to a lower incidence of dyskinesias compared with treatment with levodopa alone. An 18F-dihydroxyphenylalanine positron emission tomography study suggested the possibility that ropinirole could slow the progression of loss of dopamine neurons compared with treatment with levodopa but this remains to be proven. Side effects of ropinirole include nausea, somnolence, edema, orthostatic hypotension, hallucinations and dyskinesia. A once-daily formulation of ropinirole is currently in development that has the potential for greater convenience, improved tolerability and greater efficacy.

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