Could Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Simvastatin Treat Parkinson’s?

A clinical trial testing cholesterol-lowering treatment simvastatin as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s is underway across the United Kingdom. The hope is it could become one of a number of effective Parkinson’s treatments.

“It is encouraging to see new compounds that are already approved as being safe for use in man being trialed for use in Parkinson’s,” said chief investigator Camille Carroll, PhD, from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust in a statement. “There have been few innovations in the treatment of Parkinson’s for over 40 years and for the more than 127 000 people living with the condition in the UK, the results of this [Linked Clinical Trials Programme] could lead to new and highly effective treatments in the armory of medications to tackle Parkinson’s.”

Led by Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the trial will be a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study involving 198 participants with Parkinson’s. The researchers are seeking those who have been living with Parkinson’s and who are not already taking a statin. It will take place in 21 centers across the United Kingdom including Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

The study is part of the 4th year of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s (CPT) Linked Clinical Trials Programme, in which each year, an international committee of Parkinson’s experts from around the world analyze a number of pre-selected compounds that have the potential to slow, stop, or reverse Parkinson’s to bring them to clinical trials.

“At CPT, we are leaving no stone unturned in our quest to find new treatments that will slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s,” said Tom Isaacs, co-founder of the CPT who has been living with Parkinson’s for 20 years. “We want to make a difference to those of us living with this condition within 5 years. The results of a recent trial in multiple sclerosis with simvastatin, and the pre-clinical work investigating its effect on alpha-synuclein clumping (which is a common feature of Parkinson’s) indicate that it could be an effective treatment to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s.”

The trial will be run by the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit at Plymouth University with the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for the South West Peninsula, and is funded by Plymouth University, the JP Moulton Trust, and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.


Could a cholesterol-lowering drug be a potential treatment for Parkinson’s? EurekAlert! News release. Accessed January 11, 2016.