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Molecules. 2008 Jan 16;13(1):46-68.

Antiparkinson prodrugs.

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Department of Drug Sciences, G. d'Annunzio University, School of Pharmacy, Via dei Vestini 31, 66100 Chieti, Italy.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder which involves the loss of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta. Current therapy is essentially symptomatic, and L-Dopa (LD), the direct precursor of dopamine(DA), is the treatment of choice in more advanced stages of the disease. Substitution therapy with LD is, however, associated with a number of acute problems. The peripheral conversion of LD by amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) to DA is responsible for the typical gastrointestinal (nausea, emesis) and cardiovascular (arrhythmia, hypotension) side effects. To minimize the conversion to DA outside the central nervous system (CNS) LD is usually given in combination with peripheral inhibitors of AADC (carbidopa and benserazide). In spite of that, other central nervous side effects such as dyskinesia, on-off phenomenon and end-of-dose deterioration still remain. The main factors responsible for the poor bioavailability and the wide range of inter- and intra-patient variations of plasma levels are the drug's physical-chemical properties: low water and lipid solubility, resulting in unfavourable partition, and the high susceptibility to chemical and enzymatic degradation. In order to improve the bioavailability, the prodrug approach appeared to be the most promising and some LD prodrugs have been prepared in an effort to solve these problems. We report here a review of progress in antiparkinson prodrugs, focusing on chemical structures mainly related to LD, DA and dopaminergic agonists.

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