Eldepryl is commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. This drug is only approved for use in combination with carbidopa-levodopa medications and works by increasing the levels of a certain brain chemical. It comes in capsule form and is typically taken twice a day. Common side effects include nausea and dizziness.
Brand-name Eldepryl is made by Somerset Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Generic versions are made by various manufacturers (see Generic Eldepryl).
How Does This Drug Work?
Eldepryl belongs to a class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
A dopamine deficiency (caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells) in certain parts of the brain may be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. An enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO) breaks down monoamine chemicals, including dopamine. By inhibiting MAO enzymes, Eldepryl helps to increase the amount of dopamine that the brain can use, which can relieve symptoms of Parkinson's.
There are two types of MAO: type A and B. MAO-B is the main form in the brain and is also found in blood platelets. Although there is some MAO-A in the brain, it is found primarily in the digestive tract. MAO-A is responsible for breaking down dietary tyramine, an amino acid that affects blood pressure.
Any medication that inhibits MAO-A prevents the body from breaking down tyramine and can cause a person's levels to become too high, which can be extremely dangerous. Although Eldepryl is "selective" for MAO-B, it can inhibit MAO-A to some extent, especially at higher doses.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 8, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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