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Dementia Drug May Lower Risk of Falls Among Parkinson’s Patients

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
01/14/16  11:46 AM PST
Parkinson's Patients

By Robert Preidt for Medline Plus

TUESDAY, Jan. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A widely used dementia drug shows potential in reducing the risk of falls among Parkinson’s patients, new research suggests.

“With the degeneration of dopamine-producing nerve cells, people with Parkinson’s often have issues with unsteadiness when walking. As part of the condition, they also have lower levels of acetylcholine, a chemical which helps us to concentrate — making it extremely difficult to pay attention to walking,” said study lead author Emily Henderson, from the University of Bristol in England.

The study included 130 people with Parkinson’s disease who had fallen in the past year. Half took the drug rivastigmine (Exelon), while the other half took a placebo.

After eight months, those who took the rivastigmine capsules were much steadier when walking and 45 percent less likely to fall than those who took the placebo, according to the researchers.

The study, published Jan. 12 in The Lancet Neurology, was funded by Parkinson’s UK.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder marked by tremors, stiffness and loss of coordination. About 70 percent of Parkinson’s patients fall at least once a year and one-third have repeated falls, increasing their risk of broken bones and hospitalization, the researchers said.

Read the Full Article on Medline Plus.