Repurposing anti-diabetic drugs for the treatment of Parkinson's disease: Rationale and clinical experience

Prog Brain Res. 2020;252:493-523. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2019.10.008. Epub 2019 Nov 27.


The most pressing need in Parkinson's disease (PD) clinical practice is to identify agents that might slow down, stop or reverse the neurodegenerative process of Parkinson's disease and therefore avoid the onset of the most disabling, dopa-refractory symptoms of the disease. These include dementia, speech and swallowing problems, poor balance and falling. To date, there have been no agents which have yet had robust trial data to confirm positive effects at slowing down the neurodegenerative disease process of PD. In this chapter we will review the reasons why there is growing interest in drugs currently licensed for the treatment of diabetes as agents which may slow down disease progression in PD, including a review of the published trials regarding exenatide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist licensed to treat type 2 diabetes, and recently shown to be associated with reduced severity of PD in a randomized, placebo controlled washout design trial of 60 patients treated for 48 weeks. This subject is now a major area of interest for multiple pharmaceutical companies hoping to bring GLP-1 receptor agonists forward as treatment options in PD.

Keywords: Diabetes; Glucagon-like peptide 1; Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Repositioning*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / agonists*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Hypoglycemic Agents