HealthDay News — For patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), zonisamide as an adjunct to levodopa therapy improves parkinsonism, according to a study published online in Neurology.

Miho Murata, MD, PhD, from Yokohama City University in Japan, and colleagues conducted a phase 2 trial consisting of run-in (placebo, 4 weeks) and treatment (placebo or zonisamide 25 or 50 mg once daily for 12 weeks) periods. Outpatients diagnosed with probable DLB were eligible; 158 received the study drug and 137 completed treatment.

The researchers found that the zonisamide 50 mg group had significantly greater improvement in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part 3 total score at week 12 vs placebo (between-group difference, −4.1). No worsening in cognitive function, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, or caregiver burden were reported with zonisamide. The overall incidence of adverse events was higher in the zonisamide 50 mg group (65.3%, vs 43.1% in the 25 mg group and 50.0% in the placebo group); all groups had similar rates of serious adverse events.

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“Zonisamide (adjunctive to levodopa) improved parkinsonism accompanying DLB without worsening cognitive function or psychiatric symptoms,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, which manufactures zonisamide and funded the study.


Murata M, Odawara T, Hasegawa K, et al. Adjunct zonisamide to levodopa for DLB parkinsonism: a randomized, double-blind phase 2 study [published online January 24, 2018]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005010