FDA approves new drug to treat Parkinson's

Parkinson's patients on Wednesday gained a newly approved drug to help block the breakdown of a chemical that contributes to problems with movement and coordination that mark the progressive disease. The Food and Drug Administration said it approved Azilect, also called rasagiline, made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries of Israel, for use as an initial single-drug therapy for early Parkinson's disease, and as an addition to levodopa in more advanced patients. Levodopa is a standard treatment for Parkinson's. "Parkinson's is a relentless disease with limited treatment options, and each new therapy is an important addition to the physicians' treatment options," said Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Azilect is intended to help block the breakdown of dopamine, an important chemical for the cellular signaling that controls muscle movement.