Zelapar is commonly used in combination with carbidopa-levodopa medications to treat Parkinson's disease. A deficiency of a certain brain chemical, called dopamine, is thought to be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Zelapar works by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Potential side effects include nausea, dizziness, and insomnia.
Zelapar belongs to a class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). A dopamine deficiency, caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells in certain parts of the brain, may be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. An enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO) breaks down monoamine chemicals, including dopamine.
By inhibiting MAO enzymes, Zelapar helps increase the amount of dopamine that the brain can use, which helps relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
There are two types of MAO: type A and B. MAO-B is the main form in the brain and is also found in blood platelets. Although there is some MAO-A in the brain, it is found primarily in the digestive tract.
MAO-A is responsible for breaking down dietary tyramine, an amino acid that affects blood pressure. Any medication that inhibits MAO-A stops the body's ability to break down tyramine and can cause a person's levels to become too high, which can be extremely dangerous. Although Zelapar is "selective" for MAO-B, it can inhibit MAO-A to some extent, especially at higher doses.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 8, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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