Movement Disorders

Medical Treatments - Azilect

Azilect (also known as Rasagaline) is classified as a MAO-B inhibitor. It acts by slowing down the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination. 

In early Parkinson's disease,  Azilect can be used as single drug therapy to slow progression of symptoms. In more advanced Parkinson's disease, it can be used as an adjunct with levodopa to improve performance with motor skills and activities of daily living. The usual dose of Azilect is 1 mg per day taken orally. It can be taken with or without food.

Things to Know

  1. Side effects are infrequent. The most common side effects which may occur on Azilect alone are headache, joint pain and indigestion. Inform your physician if these do not go away.
  2. When Azilect is taken with other medications for Parkinson's disease, it is possible for
    involuntary movements (dyskenesias), hallucinations or lowered blood pressure to occur.
  3. Avoid taking Azilect if you have liver disease or a tumor of the adrenal gland.
  4. Inform your physician if you are taking or planning to take any prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, especially ciprofloxacin or antidepressants.
  5. Avoid elective surgery which requires general or local anesthesia which contains ingredients that could raise your blood pressure.
  6. When Azilect is taken with certain foods and medication, adverse reactions can occur.  Consider the following  precautions if you take Azilect:

a. Foods and beverages high in tyramine can cause high blood pressure. Signs and symptoms of marked blood pressure elevation include severe headache, blurred vision/visual disturbances, difficulty thinking, stupor/coma, seizures, chest pain, unexplained nausea or vomiting, or signs or symptoms of a stroke. Examples of food and drink with tyramine are: aged cheeses, air-dried meats, pickled herring, yeast extract, aged red wines, tap and draft beers, sauerkraut and soy sauce.

b. Do not take Azilect with Meperidine, Ultram, Methadone, Darvon, cough suppressants, St. John's Wort, Remeron, Flexeril, tricyclic, SSRI or SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants.

c. Monamine oxidase inhibitiors (MAOIs), amphetamines, cold remedies containing decongestants or weight-reducing preparations containing pseudoephedrine, phenylphrine or phenylpropanolamine can increase your blood pressure.

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