Can A Cough Medicine Treat Parkinson's?

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By By Apollo 24|7, Published on - 17 February 2023, Updated on - 20 April 2023

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Parkinson's is a brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements of the body. In this condition, the amount of dopamine starts to reduce. Dopamine is a chemical that helps in transmitting signals from the muscles to the brain. Lack of this chemical leads to delayed or uncoordinated movement in the body. While the medications used to treat the disease are dopamine and MAO (Mono Amine Oxidase) inhibitors, recent research has shown Ambroxol can also be used to treat the condition. Read to know more about the condition and about the treatment options.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Symptoms of Parkinson's include:

  • Tremors in the neck, hands and legs
  • Slow movements
  • Difficulty in coordinating body movements
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Emotional changes
  • Memory issue

The symptoms appear slowly and are difficult to identify at the initial stages.

As a family member, you might notice the following signs in the affected person:

  • Speed of walking reduces
  • Reduced expressions on the face
  • Softening of voice
  • Handwriting becomes difficult to read
  • Decrease in energy levels of the person

Why is The Treatment for Parkinson's Disease Difficult?

Parkinson's disease affects different areas of the brain and body, making a single treatment challenging to target the entire issue. The challenges faced while treating Parkinson's include:

  • Despite extensive research, the causes of Parkinson's disease remain unknown.
  • Parkinson's disease symptoms gradually progress over time.
  • Parkinson's disease affects people differently, therefore, what works averagely for one person may work well for another.
  • The medications used to treat Parkinson's disease can occasionally cause side effects.

How is Cough Medicine [Ambroxol] a Potential Breakthrough in The Treatment of Parkinson's?

For more than a decade, ambroxol has been a widely used mucolytic drug for respiratory conditions in the United Kingdom. It breaks down mucus, alleviates coughing and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Recently, ambroxol was discovered to have neuroprotective (protects the nerves) properties when tested on lab animals.

A phase 2 clinical trial of ambroxol showed remarkable results in slowing the progression of Parkinson's disease. For this trial, the dose given was ten times more than that consumed as cough syrup. Furthermore, the drug was found to be relatively safe than other drug categories and is now in phase 3 trials.

It is important to understand that there is no strong scientific evidence of the role of ambroxol in Parkinson's. Until there is enough evidence, it is unsafe to use the medication. It is prudent to always consult a professional before taking any medication.

Consult An Apollo Neurologist


1. Is ambroxol used for the treatment of Parkinson's disease?

Not yet. The ambroxol drug is being tested for its use in treating Parkinson's disease. However, it is not a proven treatment method for Parkinson's.

2. Can Parkinson's be cured?

It is a disease of unknown nature, therefore there is no cure. However, drugs that are given for treatment can help reduce the rate of progression.

3. What are some early signs of the disease?

Tremors in hands, loss of smell, reduced sleep, constipation, and dizziness are some early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

4. At what age does Parkinson's begin?

Typically, Parkinson's disease starts in people who are over 50 years of age.

5. Will ambroxol be used for the treatment of Parkinson's in the future?

Ambroxol is still under phase 3 trial. However, if the drug successfully passes all the clinical trial phases, it can be used for treating Parkinson's.

Consult An Apollo Neurologist


Medically Reviewed by Dr Madhushree Agarwal


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