Dementia Drug May Improve Gait in Parkinson’s Patients

HealthDay News — Rivastigmine may reduce the risk of falls among patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to research published in The Lancet Neurology.

The study included 130 people with Parkinson’s disease who had fallen in the past year. Half took the medication rivastigmine, while the other half took a placebo.

After 8 months, those who took rivastigmine were much steadier when walking and 45% less likely to fall than those who took the placebo, according to the researchers.

“We already know that rivastigmine works to treat dementia by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine; however, our study shows for the first time that it can also improve regularity of walking, speed, and balance,” lead author Emily Henderson, MBChB, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, said in a Parkinson’s UK news release. “This is a real breakthrough in reducing the risk of falls for people with Parkinson’s.”


Henderson EJ, Lord SR, Brodie MA, et al. Rivastigmine for gait stability in patients with Parkinson’s disease (ReSPonD): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial. Lancet Neurol. 2016; doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00389-0.