Selegiline vs Rasagiline – Uses, Side Effects, Differences

Selegiline (deprenyl) is a drug similar in structure to phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter and an influencer of serotonin and dopamine.

It is also an enzyme blocker (belongs to a group of chemicals that are called MAO-B inhibitors – monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors) which works by slowing the breakdown of certain natural substances in the brain. This helps to ease stiffness, tremor, and slow movement – all symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

It is sold under the trade name Emsam for the treatment of major depression disorder (MDD), and Zelapar and Eldepryl for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD).


This drug is typically used to control the symptoms of PD, a disorder of the nervous system which causes difficulties with muscle control, movement, and balance. Affecting 1 to 2% of people older than 60 years, Parkinson’s disease is the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disorder.

Note – it does not cure PD, however, it may improve muscle stiffness, shakiness, loss of normal movement. Also, this medication may be given with levodopa (one of the main medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms) upon the onset of this disability.


It comes in capsule and tablet forms. The tablet is typically taken once per day and the capsule is taken two times per day. Do not use doses higher than this, as there is no evidence that there is any greater effect of the drug, but it will only increase the risk of adverse effects at higher doses.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Deprenyl

Common side effects may include:

Rare side effects may include:

  • trouble breathing;
  • uncontrolled muscle movements;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • increased tremors;
  • unusual behavior;
  • hallucinations;
  • confusion.

When taken with an antidepressant, it may lead to high levels of serotonin in the body. Symptoms include – fever, agitation, overactive reflexes, fast heart rate, vomiting, nausea, loss of coordination, diarrhea, or fainting.

Using this medication can lead to hypertension. Symptoms include – blurred vision, severe headache, anxiety, pounding in your neck or ears, vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, pounding heartbeats, severe chest pain, or seizure.

Before you start using this drug, it is essential that your healthcare professional knows:

  • if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any type of medicine;
  • if you are taking any other drugs;
  • if you have porphyria, a rare inherited blood disorder;
  • if you have a problem with the way your kidneys work;
  • if you have a problem with the way your liver works;
  • if you have had a mental health problem;
  • if you have angina pain;
  • if you have an irregular heartbeat;
  • if you have high blood pressure;
  • if you have a duodenal ulcer;
  • if you are breastfeeding;
  • if you are pregnant.


It is an oral drug that is used for treating PD. It is actually an MAO-B (monoamine oxidase-B) inhibitor that works by increasing the levels of dopamine (a molecule which serves as hormones and neurotransmitters). Low dopamine levels in the brain are responsible for many of the symptoms of PD, therefore, this drug works by rebalancing the levels of dopamine.

Its brand name is Azilect.


It is typically used to treat symptoms of PD, like – tremors, stiffness, poor muscle control, and spasms.


It comes in tablet form. The usual recommended dose is 0.5 mg once per day (when combined with levodopa). The dose may be increased to 1 mg a day, only if it’s necessary. When used in monotherapy, the dose is 1 mg once per day.

Do not take more than prescribed by your healthcare provider. Also, take this medicine at around the same time every day.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Azilect

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • involuntary muscle movements;
  • dizziness;
  • join stiffness;
  • joint pain;
  • strange dreams;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • constipation;
  • insomnia;
  • a cough;
  • loss of appetite;
  • dry mouth;
  • flu symptoms;
  • swelling of the feet;
  • vomiting;
  • stomach pain.

Rare side effects may include:

  • unusual changes in behavior or mood;
  • seizure;
  • severe weakness;
  • shortness of breath;
  • severe chest pain;
  • confusion;
  • anxiety;
  • pounding in your ears or neck;
  • blurred vision;
  • a severe headache;
  • a light-headed feeling;
  • worsening symptoms of PD;
  • falling asleep suddenly;
  • extreme drowsiness.

Some patients may experience an allergic reaction, with symptoms including:

  • swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat;
  • difficult breathing;
  • hives.

Because a dangerous drug interaction could occur, do not use this medicine if you have used other MAO inhibitors in the past two weeks. Examples of MAO inhibitors include:

  • tranylcypromine – it acts as an irreversible and nonselective inhibitor of the enzyme monoamine oxidase;
  • phenelzine;
  • methylene blue injection;
  • linezolid;
  • isocarboxazid.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your healthcare specialist:

  • if you take ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic that is used to treat a number of bacterial infections;
  • if you take an antidepressant;
  • if you have liver disease;
  • if you have low or high blood pressure.

People who are taking tramadol, meperidine, propoxyphene, methadone, dextromethorphan, cyclobenzaprine, St. John’s wort, should not take this medication. Also, it may impair your reactions, therefore, it is best to avoid operating or driving machinery until you know precisely how this drug will affect you.

Selegiline vs Rasagiline – Which Is Better For Parkinson’s Disease?

Selegiline is a medication that is used to cure the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, especially it helps to prevent the loss of balance and coordination, muscular tremors, and the stiffness of certain parts of the body.

Rasagiline is also used either alone or in combination with other drugs to treat the symptoms of PD, including – stiffness, shakiness, and difficulty with movements.

According to research, there are no differences between these two medications regarding their effect on reducing the symptoms of PD, especially in patients with early-stage disease.

Natural Cures For Parkinson’s Disease

#1 Omega-3 Foods

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce inflammation and elevate dopamine levels. Food rich in omega 3 includes – flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, mung beans, pistachios, and macadamia nuts.

#2 Cannabis

Cannabis can improve the nonmotor and motor symptoms of PS, according to a study conducted at the Rabin Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.

#3 Antioxidants

Vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, and spices provide antioxidants to help reduce free radical damage. Foods rich in antioxidants include – mustard seeds, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, goji, pecans, or cranberries.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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