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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1997 Jul;21(4):477-80.

Glutamate antagonists and Parkinson's disease: a review of clinical data.

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  • 1Service de Pharmacologie Clinique, Inserm U 317, Faculté de Médecine, Toulouse, France.


Several lines of evidence demonstrate that glutamate antagonists can reverse experimental parkinsonism in animals. However, few clinical studies have been undertaken, principally because there is a shortage of glutamate antagonists which are considered safe for human use. This paper details the results of preliminary studies carried out on dextromethorphan, an anti-tussive agent and a weak open-channel blocker of the NMDA receptor; and the cerebral anti-ischaemic drug ifenprodil, a novel non-competitive inhibitor of the polyamine modulatory site on the NMDA receptor. Trials with these two compounds in small groups of parkinsonian volunteers have not demonstrated conclusive symptomatic improvement. These results do not exclude a possible role for NMDA receptor antagonists in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson's disease, but rather point to the need for developing more potent and safe NMDA antagonists, with better pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles.

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