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Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to protect women against heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer's. Now, scientists at RPSL have begun a clinical trial to determine if estrogen improves the effectiveness of drugs used to treat the symptoms of PD.

Currently, the most common treatment for PD patients is a daily regimen of levodopa (or Sinemet). The effects of levodopa wear off after two or three hours, creating a "roller coaster" effect. Recently, a drug called Mirapex has been shown effective at leveling out these ups and downs and preliminary information suggests that estrogen can enhance this effect. Dr. Aikaterini Kompoliti is heading the RPSL team of investigators; the other center is the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Each center's study will involve 18 patients; 6 men using levodopa, six post-menopausal women using levodopa and 6 post-menopausal women using levodopa and estrogen. All patients will also be started on Mirapex or placebo. This is a two-month study and women will receive a complete obstetrics and gynecologic exam as well as a free mammogram. At the end of the trial, every patient in this study will receive a year's supply of Mirapex from Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. Please note, study participants must have advanced Parkinson's disease. To participate at either site, interested parties should call 312.942.5936.

Source Date: Oct 27 1999