Arizona University researchers have found the common Parkinson’s disease treatment, levodopa, stabilised and improved the vision of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD).
In two proof-of-concept studies, published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers tested 20 patients with newly diagnosed nAMD, who’d never had anti-VEGF injections, and 14 with nAMD who’d begun treatment. The results showed levodopa was safe, well tolerated and delayed anti-VEGF injection therapy while improving visual outcomes. Monthly injections of anti-VEGF decreased by 52% in the second group.
“Levodopa has a receptor (GPR143) selectively expressed on pigmented cells. This receptor can be supportive of retinal health and survival, which led to the development of our hypothesis that it may prevent or treat AMD” said lead investigator Dr Robert Snyder. Although this was a small study, its positive findings support future studies into levodopa for nAMD and suggest it may be effective as an adjunct to anti-VEGF therapy, he said. “Using levodopa as an adjuvant therapy for nAMD could well alter the course of disease progression and save billions of dollars without sacrificing vision.”