Letter to the Editor

In Australian Prescriber’s review of rasagiline (Aust Prescr 2012;35:128-35) it is noted that:

The Therapeutic Goods Administration originally rejected the application to register rasagiline in Australia because of an apparent increase in the risk of melanoma. However it is uncertain that the drug was responsible.

I wish to point out that it is thought that melanoma and Parkinson’s disease share common genetic components.1 Furthermore there is evidence of an association between Parkinson’s disease per se and melanoma.2 Proof of the association led the Food and Drug Administration to instigate a labelling change applicable to all dopaminergic drugs in 2007. It has also been acknowledged by the TGA and the following statement is included in the Australian product information for rasagiline:

During the clinical development program, the occurrence of cases of melanoma prompted the consideration of a possible association with rasagiline. The data collected suggests that Parkinson’s disease, and not any medicinal products in particular, is associated with a higher risk of skin cancer (not exclusively melanoma). Any suspicious skin lesion should be evaluated by a specialist.

In view of the evidence, Lundbeck recommends that all patients with Parkinson’s disease undergo regular skin checks, including those taking rasagiline.

Deborah Pelser
Scientific Affairs
Lundbeck Australia


The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.

Deborah Pelser

Director, Scientific Affairs, Lundbeck Australia