Da Hee Han, PharmD
Findings from a study published in CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets reported that ultra-micronized palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA) slowed disease progression and disability when used as adjunct therapy in advanced Parkinson's disease patients.
Previous animal model studies have shown PEA, an endogenous fatty acid signaling molecule, to be beneficial in neuroinflammation and provide neuroprotection. In this study, researchers from San Giuseppe Hospital, Florence, Italy, studied um-PEA in 30 patients with diagnosed Parkinson's disease.
Study patients (mean age: 73 years) were receiving L-DOPA daily and other Parkinson's disease treatmentswere evaluated monthly over 3 consecutive months. They were then given the medical food um-PEA (marketed as Normast) 1200mg daily for 3 months followed by 600mg daily for up to 12 months. Patients' motor and non-motor symptoms were assessed by the MDS-UPDRS questionnaire and they underwent further clinical assessment at Months 1, 3, 6, and 12.
When used as add-on therapy to L-DOPA, um-PEA resulted in a significant and progressive reduction of total score in Non-Motor Aspects of Experiences of Daily Living from baseline to Month 12 (from 9.7 to 4.5). Also, treatment with um-PEA for 1 year showed significant and progressive reduction in the average Motor Aspects of Experiences of Daily Living total score from baseline to Month 12 (from 12.7 to 7.6). The average total motor complication score was also reduced from 8.8 at baseline to 4.2 after 12 months of add-on um-PEA.
Study authors reported no treatment-related adverse effects. They concluded that um-PEA was a safe and effective adjuvant therapy in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease receiving L-DOPA.