Rasagiline increases the levels of a substance in the brain called dopamine. This is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This disease affects movement and is a progressive nervous system disorder. The symptoms begin slowly and sometimes it starts with a barely noticeable tremor just in one hand. Tremors are common but the condition also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs and symptoms can be mild and go unnoticed. Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Some early symptoms may include:

  • Tremor especially in finger, hand, or foot
  • Cramped handwriting or writing changes
  • Limb stiffness or slow movement during sleep
  • Uncontrollable movements during sleep
  • Rigid facial expression or masking
  • Voice changes
  • Stooped posture

Parkinson’s disease starts with the brain cells called neurons which control movement. Neurons create a substance called dopamine. The condition sets in when the neurons die and the levels of dopamine in the brain lessen. The lack of dopamine is thought to result in the symptoms that affect the way you move.

This is used alone or in combination with other medications such as carbidopa/levodopa. This helps improve symptoms such as stiffness, shakiness, and difficulty moving. Rasagiline may also help lessen the amount of ‘off’ time or periods of slow movement stiffness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Rasagiline is supplied as a tablet. Each tablet is available in the dosage forms of 0.5 mg or 1 mg for oral use.

How does Rasagiline work?

Rasagiline is a type of medicine called a selective monoamine-oxidase-B inhibitor (MAOI-B). This increases the levels of a substance in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is a substance known as a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are found in the brain and nervous system. These are involved in transmitting messages between nerves. These messages allow the normal functioning of the body. The neurotransmitter dopamine is known to be reduced or absent in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. This is thought to be the cause of disease symptoms. The mainstay of treating Parkinson’s disease is to replace dopamine in the brain.

Natural dopamine released from nerve cells in the brain is usually broken down by an enzyme called MAOI-B. Rasagiline works by blocking the action of this enzyme which prevents the MAOI-B from breaking down the dopamine. This results in an increased amount of active dopamine in the brain. Therefore, this lessens the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

How to use Rasagiline?

Rasagiline is usually taken once a day. This is to be taken as directed by your doctor. Each dose may be taken with or without a meal. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day. Take it regularly for the best benefit of this product. Do not suddenly stop this treatment without the consent of your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids while having this treatment.

The tablet is to be taken by mouth depending on the dosage that will be prescribed to you. Swallow the tablet as a whole with a full glass of water. Do not break, chew, or crush it. The given dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the medication. Take each dose exactly as it is given by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than the prescription. Your doctor may give you a lower dose to start and gradually increase it. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.

What are the side effects of Rasagiline?

Common side effects:

  • Spinning sensation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Heartburn
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle pain
  • Hair loss
  • Stomach upset or abdominal pain
  • Numbness or tingly feeling
  • Skin rash
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Impotence
  • Weight loss
  • Strange dreams
  • Flu symptoms

Tell your doctor right away if you have these side effects:

  • Shakiness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Mental or mood changes such as abnormal dreams of hallucinations

If you have signs of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away:

  • Hives or itching
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue
  • Trouble breathing

Warnings and Precautions

  • Rasagiline may make you dizzy. Do not operate machinery or do any activity that needs your full alertness.
  • You should not share this with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
  • Tell your doctor if you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug. This may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
  • Smoking may decrease the blood level of this drug and could make it less effective.
  • If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow your regular schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
  • Use this with caution in people with decreased liver function.
  • Do not use this in people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitor medicines.
  • This is not recommended for use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Its safety and efficacy have not been studied yet in this age group.
  • Before using this medication, let your doctor know if you have any medical history especially of liver or kidney disease, stroke, and high or low blood pressure.
  • While having treatment, limit alcoholic beverages.         
  • If you have any signs of an overdose, call your doctor right away.
  • Avoid eating foods that are high in tyramine such as aged cheese, soy sauce, fava beans, herring, pickled or processed meats, and fish. Eating tyramine while you are taking this drug can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels which could cause life-threatening side effects.
  • Some people taking this medication with levodopa have fallen asleep during normal daytime activities such as talking, working, or eating. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.