The Many Faces of Apomorphine Lessons from the Past and Challenges for the Future

Abstract : Apomorphine is now recognized as the oldest antiparkinsonian drug on the market. Though still underused, it is increasingly prescribed in Europe for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) with motor fluctuations. However, its history is far from being limited to movement disorders. This paper traces the history of apomorphine, from its earliest empirical use, to its synthesis, pharmacological development, and numerous indications in human and veterinary medicine, in light of its most recent uses and newest challenges. From shamanic rituals in ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica, to the treatment of erectile dysfunction, from being discarded as a pharmacological tool to becoming an essential antiparkinsonian drug, the path of apomorphine in the therapeutic armamentarium has been tortuous and punctuated by setbacks and groundbreaking discoveries. Throughout history, three main clinical indications stood out: emetic (gastric emptying, respiratory disorders, aversive conditioning), sedative (mental disorders, clinical anesthesia, alcoholism), and antiparkinsonian (fluctuations). New indications may arise in the future, both in PD (palliative care, nonmotor symptoms, withdrawal of oral dopaminergic medication), and outside PD, with promising work in neuroprotection or addiction.
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Manon Auffret, Sophie Drapier, Marc Vérin. The Many Faces of Apomorphine Lessons from the Past and Challenges for the Future. Drugs in R&D, Springer Verlag, 2018, 18 (2), pp.91-107. ⟨10.1007/s40268-018-0230-3⟩. ⟨hal-01808251⟩

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