The discovery and development of safinamide, an alpha-aminoamide, has been a valuable addition to the existing clinical management of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The journey of safinamide dates back to the year 1983, when an alpha-aminoamide called milacemide showed a weak anticonvulsant activity. Milacemide was then structurally modified to give rise to safinamide, which in turn produced robust anticonvulsant activity. The underlying mechanism behind this action of safinamide is attributed to the inhibition of voltage gated calcium and sodium channels. Moreover, owing to the importance of ion channels in maintaining neuronal circuitry and neurotransmitter release, numerous studies explored the potential of safinamide in neurological diseases including PD, stroke, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and non-dystrophic myotonias. Nevertheless, evidence from multiple preclinical studies suggested a potent, selective and reversible inhibitory activity of safinamide against monoamine oxidase (MAO)-B enzyme which is responsible for degrading dopamine, a neurotransmitter primarily implicated in the pathophysiology of PD. Therefore, clinical studies were conducted to assess safety and efficacy of safinamide in PD. Indeed, results from various Phase 3 clinical trials suggested strong evidence of safinamide as an add-on therapy in controlling the exacerbation of PD. This review presents a thorough developmental history of safinamide in PD and provides comprehensive insight into plausible mechanisms via which safinamide can be explored for use in other neurological and muscular diseases.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.