Recent years have chronicled many attempts to alleviate the distressing symptoms of sufferers from Parkinson's disease. Although surgical destruction of portions of the globus pallidus or the ventrolateral nucleus of the thalamus has proved highly beneficial in carefully selected patients, the backbone of management in Parkinson's disease has continued to be drug therapy. The drugs are used either alone or in varying combinations, to suit the needs of the patients, and include, among others, belladonna, scopolamine, trihexyphenidyl, and diphenhydramine. Currently, levodopa (L-DOPA), whose results are reported to be dramatic, is under investigation.
In this issue of The Journal (p 1168) Schwab and his associates report some preliminary observations on yet another compound, surprising because it was not developed for Parkinson's disease, but rather as a preventive against influenza A2. The new drug, amantadine hydrochloride, was thought perhaps to reduce the incidence of infection in individuals exposed to Asian influenza, but