May 7, 2011

One new med (Isradipine) and one new supplement (Creatine) for my anti-aging and anti-Parkinson's arsenal

Based on my research, I've added Creatine and Isradipine to my growing arsenal of weapons to fight Parkinson's and aging.

Creatine is an OTC supplement that gained popularity in recent years as a "natural" way to enhance athletic performance and build lean body mass.Early studies showed that creatine might improve cognition in certain populations, such as vegetarians and the elderly.  Other studies suggested that it might help treat various neuromuscular diseases like Parkinson's.

A small study in 2000 suggested that creatine might slow the progression of ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease").

In March 2007, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - NINDS announced sponsorship of a phase III clinical trial to see if Creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's. The trial is huge, enrolling 1720 people at 51 medical centers in North America. Enrollment was completed last year and the trial is expected to take five to seven years.

With my 82 birthday coming up in a few weeks, I don't want to wait for the outcome of this study.  The study participants will be given either a placebo or Creatine in 5 gram sachets twice a day.  I went online and found a product, Neotine, that provides the 5 gram sachets of creatine. See:

So I've started taking one sachet with my morning juice and one with a glass of water at supper.  NIH in announcing the clinical trial wrote that Creatine is "well tolerated," but some side effects have been reported including dehydration, cramps, nausea, gas, diarrhea, renal stress and lowered blood pressure.The lowered blood pressure might trigger dizziness.

I made a similar decision when I decided to take 1200 mg of CoQ-10 a day based on some preliminary studies suggesting that such large doses of the supplement might slow the progression of Parkinson's. As with Creatine, a large study is underway to test this possibility, but results aren't expected for years.

As I reported in an earlier posting, a study at the University of Minnesota's School of Medicine "found that Isradipine, a drug widely used to treat hypertension, rejuvenates stressed-out dopamine neurons to their vigorous younger selves in animal models of the disease." A national clinical trial is now underway to determine if similar results can be found in humans.

My neurologist, whom I saw a few months ago, was familiar with this study and suggested I discuss with my internist switching to this drug as a substitute for the Ramipril blood pressure medication I had been taking.  I had my annual checkup with my internist a few weeks ago and he agreed that we should give this a try, particularly because the Ramipril might be causing a chronic cough I'd been experiencing.  He gave me a prescription for the brand name Dynacirc, which it turned out wasn't covered by my prescription drug plan.   I was told that it might be covered if my doctor requested an exception but even then it would cost me $249 for a 90-day supply.  I asked if there was a generic for Isradipine. There is; it was covered, and it would cost $7.  An easy call.

One thing I'll have to be cautious about with these new  pills is that each can produce a lowering of blood pressure that might result in dizziness.


Doctorwink said...

Does anyone know the latest results from the isradipine study?

John said...

A search today (7/17/12) of NIH's PubMed shows  the most recent (11/9/2011) study reported on isradipine and PD.  It reviews prior studies of using blood pressure meds to treat Parkinson's and  mentions the pending Northwestern U. study.  The study authors conclusion: "There is currently a lack of evidence for the use of antihypertensive drugs for either the primary or secondary prevention of PD. More observational studies are required to identify potential drugs to go forward for safety and tolerability studies in people with early PD. The results of the ongoing trial will help inform further research." I mentioned in a later post here, I gave up on isradipine because I suspected it was causing weight gain and general malaise.