The basal ganglia — a brain circuit group that plays a role in Parkinson's disease (PD) symptoms — has adenosine A2A receptors located next to dopamine receptors, the target of many other Parkinson’s medications. Scientists have found that just as increasing dopamine in the basal ganglia can improve Parkinson’s symptoms, blocking the adenosine A2A receptor may have a similar effect. Since adenosine A2A blocking drugs (antagonists) do not act directly on dopamine receptors, they may be able to reduce “off” time (changes in the ability to move as a levodopa dose wanes) by 30 to 60 minutes per day without worsening dyskinesia. However, dyskinesia can still be a side effect. Reduction in “off” time should be seen by four weeks.
Page reviewed by Dr. Chauncey Spears, Clinical Assistant Professor and Dr. Amelia Heston, Movement Disorders Fellow at the University of Michigan.