Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

The Effects of Rasagiline

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When I talked to the health professionals about Rasagaline  (brand name Azilect), I was told that it ‘gives you back a year’. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I do now; with Rasagiline, I feel roughly the same now as I did a year ago, without it.

That’s good enough for now, but it’s not perfect. I still get tension and tremors in my left hand limbs, they’re just not as bad as they were before I started taking the drug back in July (it takes about a month to kick in, so the effects aren’t instantaneous).

The advantage is that there are no noticeable side effects and, as a bonus, it may also have a protective effect on my remaining dopamine receptors. Maybe. I don’t think that that has been proven yet.

There was a question regarding diet and a substance called tyramine. Tyramine is a product of the aging of food proteins; it occurs in many cheeses, especially hard cheeses such as cheddar, as well as preserved meats and game. It is also present in soya beans and board beans, so vegetarians don’t get off lightly, either. Tyramine affects the same parts of the brain as some monoamine oxidase inhibitors (the class of drug that Rasagiline falls into), and the general advice is to avoid tyramine containing foods if you are on one of these drugs. Overstimulating these parts of the brain can be dangerous; warning signs include headaches. Tyramine may also provoke migraines, so some migraine sufferers also strive to avoid it.

It’s quite difficult to avoid.

Fortunately, after a few weeks of trying to avoid tyramine, I discovered that, because Rasagiline is a selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor, the warning is more of a caution. I’ve reverted to my usual diet, which includes cheese (not much preserved meat or game, though) and have encountered no noticeable problems.

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