Patients with Parkinson's disease could be treated for depressive symptoms with pramipexole, a dopamine agonist, according to a team of scientists in Italy.
It is the first trial to determine the direct benefits of a dopamine agonist on depression in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), and the results are published in Online First and in the June issue of The Lancet Neurology.
More than one third of PD sufferers experience depressive symptoms.
To provide more evidence, Paolo Barone from the University of Naples and international colleagues did a randomised trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of pramipexole for depressive symptoms in patients with mild-to-moderate PD.
Overall, pramipexole significantly improved depressive symptoms compared with a placebo.
Additionally, compared with patients in the placebo group, patients in the pramipexole group experienced significantly greater improvements in motor symptoms and activities of daily living.
The authors say: "These results suggest that specific stimulation of dopaminergic pathways as provided by pramipexole should be considered in the management of patients with PD and clinically-significant depressive symptoms."