Author(s): Pinna A
Neurotransmitters other than dopamine, such as norepinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, glutamate, adenosine and acetylcholine, are involved in Parkinson's disease (PD) and contribute to its symptomatology. Thus, the progress of non-dopaminergic therapies for PD has attracted much interest in recent years. Among new classes of drugs, adenosine A2A antagonists have emerged as promising candidates. The development of new highly selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonists, and their encouraging anti-parkinsonian responses in animal models of PD, has provided a rationale for clinical trials to evaluate the therapeutic potential and the safety of these agents in patients with PD. To date, the clinical research regarding A2A antagonists and their potential utilization in PD therapy continues to evolve between drugs just or previously discontinued (preladenant and vipadenant), new derivatives in development (tozadenant, PBF-509, ST1535, ST4206 and V81444) and the relatively old drug istradefylline, which has finally been licensed as an anti-parkinsonian drug in Japan. All these compounds have been shown to have a good safety profile and be well tolerated. Moreover, results from phase II and III trials also demonstrate that A2A antagonists are effective in reducing off-time, without worsening troublesome dyskinesia, and in increasing on-time with a mild increase of non-troublesome dyskinesia, in patients at an advanced stage of PD treated with L-DOPA. In addition, early findings suggest that A2A antagonists might also be efficacious as monotherapy in patients at an early stage of PD. This review summarizes pharmacological and clinical data available on istradefylline, tozadenant, PBF-509, ST1535, ST4206, V81444, preladenant and vipadenant.