Neurological Sciences

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 1581–1587 | Cite as

Homotaurine in Parkinson’s disease

  • Lucia Ricciardi
  • Francesca De Nigris
  • Alessandro Specchia
  • Alfonso Fasano
Original Article


Homotaurine is a natural compound of red algae, which has been demonstrated to have a neuroprotective effect and has been evaluated as a possible therapeutic agent for Alzheimer’s disease. This was a single blind, randomized, controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of homotaurine in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and cognitive impairment. Patients were evaluated at baseline and 6 months later. Assessments included, the evaluation of: motor and non-motor conditions and complications (Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, UPDRS); disability and quality of life; depression; excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. An extensive neuropsychological tests battery was administered evaluating specific cognitive domains: memory, phonemic verbal fluency, executive functions and selective visual attention. After baseline testing, patients were allocated to one of the two groups: (A) treatment group: patients treated with homotaurine 100 mg; (B) control group: patients not treated with homotaurine. Forty-seven patients were evaluated at baseline, 24 (51 %) completed the study (PD-homotaurine: n = 11; 44 % and PD-controls: n = 13; 59 %); discontinuation rate was similar across subjects (p = 1.0). Intention to treat analyses to evaluate homotaurine safety showed mild side effects (gastrointestinal upsetting) in 3 patients. Per protocol analyses of homotaurine efficacy showed no difference between groups. Within group analyses showed that PD-homotaurine patients had better score at UPDRS-I at the end of the study compared to baseline (p = 0.017) and at Epworth Sleepiness Scale (p = 0.01). No other differences were found. No significant difference arose for the PD-ctrl group. Homotaurine is a safe drug. Our data suggest a beneficial effect of homotaurine on excessive sleepiness. Future studies are encouraged to confirm this promising role of homotaurine in promoting the sleep/awake cycle in patients with PD.


Homotaurine Parkinson’s disease Cognitive impairment Excessive daytime sleepiness 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucia Ricciardi
    • 1
  • Francesca De Nigris
    • 2
  • Alessandro Specchia
    • 3
  • Alfonso Fasano
    • 4
  1. 1.Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of NeurologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Vascular Surgery, A. Gemelli University HospitalCatholic University School of MedicineRomeItaly
  3. 3.Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Teaching, Department of Geriatrics, Neurosciences and OrthopedicsHospital “Agostino Gemelli” Sacro Cuore Catholic UniversityRomeItaly
  4. 4.Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic and the Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson’s Disease, Division of Neurology, Toronto Western HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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