NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

New Drug Eases Psychosis Symptoms in Parkinson's Patients

Monday November 04, 2013

A new drug eases symptoms of psychosis in Parkinson's patients, and it may do the same for those with Alzheimer's
Kristen Fischer

Healthline News - The new drug pimavanserin may help people with Parkinson’s disease experience less severe or frequent symptoms of psychosis.

As of now, the only treatment options for those who experience psychosis—a common symptom for many people with Parkinson's—are dopamine antagonist antipsychotic drugs, such as clozapine and quetiapine. The problem is that they can make motor symptoms worse, accelerate cognitive decline, increase a person’s risk of stroke, and even cause death.

Psychosis is characterized by delusions or hallucinations and is a major reason why people with Parkinson's are often admitted to nursing homes. The new findings offer hope that more patients with Parkinson’s will be able to receive care at home.

Drug Yields Fewer Psychosis Symptoms
Clive Ballard, a professor at King’s College London, lead the research on 199 Parkinson's patients who experienced psychosis and were over the age of 40. Some received 40 mg of pimavanserin once daily; others took a placebo pill.

A nine-item Parkinson's disease scale, known as a SAPS-PD, was used to evaluate their psychosis symptoms throughout the 43-day study.

The researchers found that patients on pimavanserin had better SAPS-PD scores compared to those who took the placebo. Thirty-seven precent of patients taking the drug saw improved scores, compared to just 14 percent of participants on the placebo.

The scientists also noted that patients taking the drug slept better at night, were more wakeful during the day, and were easier for caregivers to treat. And importantly, the patients on pimavanserin did not experience worsening motor symptoms.

How Pimavanserin Works
Pimavanserin blocks serotonin 5-HT2A receptors in the neocortex, the area of the brain that controls sensory perceptions, language, and conscious thought. The neocortex is also linked to visual hallucinations and delusions—both aspects of psychosis.

Among patients taking it, pimavanserin was well tolerated. Researchers said the most common side effect was a slightly elevated risk of urinary tract infections. During the study, 10 patients stopped taking the drug, compared to four on the placebo.

The researchers say that the drug could perhaps be used to treat symptoms of psychosis in those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions as well.

Bringing the Drug to Market
How close is pimavanserin to being available for use? Dr. Anne Corbett, co-author of the paper and a psychosis researcher at King’s College, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking to license the drug. If they approve the medication, it's more likely that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the U.K. will do the same.

She says the drug could have a “considerable” impact on Parkinson’s treatment, giving doctors a valuable option to treat disturbing symptoms.

Pimavanserin is beneficial for caregivers, too, she said. They may not have to put their loved ones in treatment centers, which is often a difficult decision and lifestyle change.

“Since psychosis is often a reason for people moving into residential care, this could mean that people can stay living at home for longer,” Corbett said.

Fischer, K. (4 Nov. 2013). Healthline News. New Drug Eases Psychosis Symptoms in Parkinson's Patients. www.healthline.com.

Recent News

Oct 18 - Brain disconnections may contribute to Parkinson's hallucinations
Oct 18 - Fighting Parkinson's disease through dance
Oct 17 - Scientists Identify Structure of PINK1, Key Parkinson’s-protective Protein
Oct 17 - Diabetes drug cuts Parkinson's risk by 28 percent, study finds
Oct 10 - Advances in Brain Pacemaker Reduces Tremors, Helps Parkinson's Sufferers Live a More Normal Life
Oct 10 - Medical History Could Help Predict Parkinson's Disease Risk Long Before Diagnosis
Oct 3 - Changes in Olfactory Bulb Explain Loss of Smell in Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Study Finds
Oct 3 - Sleep Disturbances May Worsen Motor Symptoms in Parkinson’s Disease, Study Suggests
Sep 12 - Australian Researchers Develop New Diagnostic Tool to Spot Early Signs of Parkinson’s
Sep 11 - GeneFo Webinar to Focus on Using Humor to Manage Parkinson’s Disease
Sep 6 - Parkinson’s and the ‘D’ word
Sep 6 - Compounds in Asthma Drugs Might Be Used as Parkinson’s Treatment
Sep 5 - AstraZeneca Joins Takeda, Berg to Advance Development of Parkinson’s Disease Therapies
Sep 1 - Stem Cell Transplant Trial in Parkinson’s Patients Planned After Test in Japan Succeeds in Monkeys
Sep 1 - Titan to Start Phase 1/2 Study of Subdermal Implant to Deliver Requip to Parkinson’s Patients
Aug 30 - FDA Refuses Acorda’s Inbrija New Drug Application Due to Manufacturing Questions
Aug 23 - Support Groups: Are They for You?
Aug 22 - Internet Visits with Parkinson’s Specialist Can Be as Effective as In-person Visits, Trial Finds
Aug 21 - Cavion’s New CMO to Lead Cav3 Platform Development for Neurological Diseases
Aug 15 - Singing Helps Early-stage Parkinson’s Patients Retain Speech, Respiratory Control, Studies Show