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Parkinson's Can Lead to Feeling "Off" in Many Ways

Tuesday October 29, 2013

PR Newswire - An estimated 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease this year, and nearly one million people in the U.S. are currently living with the chronic and progressive movement disorder. Understandably, a Parkinson's diagnosis causes many new patients to feel less optimistic about their future lives; according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, up to 60 percent of patients express depressive symptoms.

There is a "chicken and egg" aspect to the discussion of depression in people diagnosed with Parkinson's. A new study published in the Oct. 2 online issue of Neurology indicates that depressed people, particularly those 65 or older or anyone with hard-to-treat depression, are more than three times as likely to develop Parkinson's as their peers without depression – suggesting that depression may precede Parkinson's in some cases. The author of this study, Dr. Albert Yang, an attending psychiatrist at Taipei Veterans General Hospital and a visiting assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, says depression is highly prevalent in Parkinson's patients and can come about after a Parkinson's diagnosis and also years before the actual onset; therefore it's very difficult to say whether depression causes Parkinson's or Parkinson's causes depression.

Research continues both here and abroad for methods of diagnosing and treating Parkinson's. Currently approved medications only aim to control symptoms and it's widely acknowledged that many of these drugs become less effective as the disease progresses.

One potential cause of depression in Parkinson's patients can be related to the "off episodes," experienced by 25-50 percent of people with the disorder. In what can be a terrifying experience for both patient and family, "off episodes" often occur in between Levadopa "L-dopa" doses, debilitating the patient with partial or total loss of mobility and/or speaking capabilities. The approved rapid rescue medication that can reverse these "off" states, apomorphine, is only available via injection. So, it's easy to imagine the anxiety felt by patients during the onset, and how difficult self-injection or getting help would be in their debilitated state.

Enter Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc., a company committed to helping patients who experience "off episodes" reclaim their independence to some extent, and mitigate the possibility of depression that could ultimately stem from feeling helpless. "Our singular focus is doing something tangible to help," says Anthony Giovinazzo, President and CEO of the Toronto-based specialty pharmaceutical company. Cynapsus is clinically testing a novel way of providing patients with non-injectable (i.e. sublingual) delivery of apomorphine. Their lead drug candidate, APL-130277, is a fast-acting oral reformulation of apomorphine designed to dissolve under the tongue. "Not only do we believe this method of delivery could act faster," Giovinazzo added, "it may allow patients to self-administer, which could make an immeasurable difference to those without immediate help."

Cynapsus is currently focused on completing pivotal studies for APL-130277, in advance of a New Drug Application expected for submission to the FDA in 2015.

For more, visit www.cynapsus.ca, who paid for the writing and dissemination of this release.

Contact: Laura Radocaj, Dian Griesel Int'l., 212.825.3210

(29 Oct. 2013). PR Newswire. Parkinson's Can Lead to Feeling "Off" in Many Ways. www.digitaljournal.com