Does nicotine help parkinson's

Hi all there seems to be a lot of articles on the web regarding nicotine that it may be neuro-protective. Has anyone tried nicotine patches, gum etc with any success? thanks Martin
Hi mrn307,

Interesting question. I don't smoke nor have tried nicotine patches nor nicotine in any other form, but from the bits I read about nicotine, I also understand it is likely to help with with PD (though in my understanding the mechanism is not really a matter of being neuroprotective - see below). The obvious way to get nicotine is by smoking. This has lots of important negative side effects (my grand dad died because of it), so I'm clearly not going to start smoking. But your question is more about nicotine patches. I'm not sure these are as dangerous as smoking - does anyone know? Also, I heard recently that e-cigarettes had nicotine but not some other of the more dangerous substances associated with normal smoking - does anyone knows if these are safer? or has had any experience with them?

My understanding of how nicotine helps with PD is as follows:
- Bosts dopamine levels. I read that nicotine is a mao-b inhibitor(i.e., stops an enzyne that is supposed to break-down dopamine, with the result that we're left with more dopamine). It's a bit like Azilect (=rasagiline), a medication that many of us take. I read somewhere that nicotine may boost dopamine more directly through some other mechanism too, but not too sure about it. Anyway, at least as a mao-b inhibitor it would very directly boost dopamine.
- Reduces estrogen (female hormones, which men also have but in lower quantities)n which in turn increases our cortisol levels. Higher cortisol levels (especially when they were lower to begin with - which seems likely when you have PD and especially so if you are taking l-dopa meds) enhances our resistance to inflammation, which I believe is a good thing to fight/slow down PD.

So, I'd also be very interested in any experiences, thoughts that anyone else might have.


Hi ifs thanks for your reply, martin
i too have seen this theroy along with drinking lots of coffee - well i drink gallons of coffee have smoked for 30 years - always trying to give up so got hooked on nicotine gum. last 4 years chewed nicotine gum AND smoked ......this year was dx with pd .......gave up smoking as having a cigarette made my symptons worse - so no, dont believe that theroy