Characteristics and Uses of Azilect

Azilect is a therapeutic option for Parkinson's patients with non-severe symptoms. It also benefits those with a poor response to levodopa.
Characteristics and Uses of Azilect

Last update: 12 June, 2021

Azilect is a drug containing rasagiline as the active ingredient. Doctors usually prescribe it for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Some patients use it along with levodopa when their physician recommends it.

People with Parkinson’s disease experience a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. (Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the control of movement.)

The mechanism of action of Azilect

As we said above, Azilect is a drug used for treating Parkinson’s disease. This condition causes progressive degeneration resulting in motor symptoms such as slowness of movement, muscle stiffness, and tremors.

Azilect may be used alone or as an adjunct to levodopa by patients with motor fluctuations. These fluctuations are due to a decrease in the effect of the latter. As you can imagine, the patient experiences sudden changes in mobility when this occurs.

Rasagiline acts by inhibiting monoamine oxidase B, responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters in the brain. These are substances such as dopamine that enable neurons to communicate with each other.

In Parkinson’s patients, the dopamine-producing cells gradually die off. Therefore, the amount of dopamine decreases in the brains of these patients. It results in a loss of the ability to control movement.

Treatment with Azilect increases dopamine levels in the brain to produce an improvement in symptoms. In particular, there’s an improvement in stiffness and slowness of movement.

A dopamine formula.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that decreases in those with Parkinson’s disease.

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What are the benefits of Azilect?

The improvement of symptoms over time achieved using different doses of rasagiline was compared with that of a placebo in several studies conducted with this drug. Especially those in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers also compared Azilect with a placebo and with entacapone, another drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The study took into account the patient’s downtime during the day in order to measure its efficacy.

The results suggest that Azilect is more effective than placebo, and may reduce tremors.

Side effects and contraindications of Azilect?

The most common side effect of rasagiline is a headache. Thus, Azilect is contraindicated if you’re taking other monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

There must be at least 14 days between the end of treatment with Azilect and the start of treatment with another monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or with pethidine.

Possible adverse effects of Azilect administration include obsessive thoughts and impulsive behavior. The patient may also experience auditory and visual hallucinations. A combination of hallucinations, fever, tremor, and sweating might mean the patient has serotonergic syndrome.

Less frequent side effects are involuntary movements and abdominal pain. However, it can also cause strokes and myocardial infarction.

A person with Parkinson's.
Rasagiline is the active ingredient of Azilect and can reduce Parkinson’s disease tremors.

Mode of administration

Azilect comes in tablet form for oral administration. The usual dose is one tablet a day, and one can take it with or without food. Try to take it on the same schedule and don’t change the dose or the frequency prescribed by the specialist on your own.

You’ll probably begin the treatment with a low dose and then increase it according to the evolution. However, be careful if you have to stop taking the medication. In fact, the doctor must tell you how to gradually decrease the dose. This is because suddenly stopping its intake may lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Azilect for non-critically ill patients

This is a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, it’s useful when there are problems related to movement and levodopa treatment. Thus, it’s up to the team of specialists to determine the dose to be used as well as the duration of treatment.

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Rasagiline and its Use in Parkinson’s Disease
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Rasagiline and its Use in Parkinson’s Disease

Rasagiline belongs to the family of irreversible inhibitors of the enzyme monoamine oxidase. People either use it by itself or as adjuvant therapy.

  • Pagonabarraga, J., & Kulisevsky, J. (2010). Rasagilina: Eficacia y protección en la enfermedad de Parkinson. Revista de Neurologia.

  • Fluktuacje i dyskinezy w chorobie Parkinsona — fenomenologia, mechanizmy i metody postępowania. (2012). Polski Przegląd Neurologiczny.

  • Pagonabarraga, J., & Rodríguez-Oroz, M. C. (2013). Rasagilina en monoterapia en pacientes en fases tempranas de la enfermedad de Parkinson y en terapia combinada y coadyuvante a levodopa en fases moderada y avanzada. Revista de Neurologia.