Parkinsons Disease Home > Zelapar

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.

What Is Zelapar?

Zelapar® (orally disintegrating selegiline) is a prescription medication approved to treat Parkinson's disease. It is approved for use in combination with carbidopa-levodopa medications (such as Sinemet®, Sinemet CR®, or Parcopa®). Because the tablets dissolve rapidly on the tongue without any need for water, they are especially useful for people who have difficulty swallowing tablets.
 
(Click Zelapar Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

Zelapar is made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
 

How Does Zelapar Work?

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.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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