Neurologist makes world history contributing to the largest drug trial of Parkinson’s

12th Jun 2014

A consultant neurologist from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Trust has contributed to the world’s largest drug trial of Parkinson’s which aims to help improve the quality of patients’ lives.

Professor Carl Clarke, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Honorary Consultant Neurologist, has joined together with a team of specialists, ‘UK PD Med Collaborative Group’, to conduct the trial which looked to settle a 15-year-long debate; which is the best first treatment for Parkinson’s?

2,000 people with Parkinson’s, 1,300 carers, 100 hospitals and the University of Birmingham worked in collaboration to complete  the clinical trial examining different medications including, levodopa, dopamine agonists and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

The trial was successful in concluding that despite the previous concerns over its long term usage; Levodopa remains the best first treatment for Parkinson’s. This is backed by the patients’ feedback on their quality of life. The study also found there were no long-term adverse effects from the therapy.

Professor Clarke said: “PD MED trial will change clinical practice worldwide so that all patients are initiated on Levodopa therapy.”

Switching initial therapy to Levodopa will help to save the NHS money as it is the cheapest medication studied in the trial.

Around 120,000 people in the UK are affected by Parkinson’s disease. It is caused by the progressive loss of nerves in the brain. Symptoms include: motor symptoms (tremor, slowness of movement, instability), constipation, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and dementia.

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