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New Drugs May Help With Parkinson’s Disease

Friday July 25, 2014

Anthony Giovinazzo

eMissourian - About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. In 2010, the disease was responsible for the deaths of 22 Missouri residents between the ages of 65 and 74, and 169 Missouri residents over the age of 75, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects your movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand.

But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, there are several other symptoms and signs that may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed.

Symptoms often begin on one side of your body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Signs and symptoms may include tremor, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture, speech changes and writing changes.

In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression or your arms may not swing when you walk. Your speech may become soft or slurred.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms worsen as your condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications may markedly improve your symptoms. In occasional cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

One of the most disturbing side effects of standard Parkinson’s disease treatments are “freezing” or “off” episodes characterized by acute immobility. These episodes can occur between one and several times a day and last from one to several hours cumulatively.

These episodes are triggered by L-dopa, a mainline treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The episodes begin when the levodopa or enzyme inhibitors enter the bloodstream too slowly, or wear off quickly, or just do not enter the bloodstream sufficiently at all.

A drug called apomorphine is the only drug approved specifically for the treatment of these “freezing” periods. Currently, however, it is only available in the United States as an injection. This can result in painful reactions, including irritation and nodules at the injection site.

As an alternative, Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc. has developed an under-the-tongue thin-film strip system, called APL-130277 that is similar to Listerine Breath Strips. The strip dissolves in about one to two minutes, delivering the drug into the bloodstream in a similar time interval and concentration as an injectable dose.

The treatment aims at relieving many Parkinson’s disease patients of the requirement for self-injections, along with the injury and stress this entails.

Over the next two years, the company plans to conduct human clinical trials and expects to submit its drug for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.

If you would like to learn more about Parkinson’s disease, its symptoms and available treatments speak with your doctor or contact the Movement Disorders Center at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, 314- 362-6908 or http://neuro.wustl.edu/patientcare/clinicalservices/movementdisorders/.

Anthony Giovinazzo is president and CEO of Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc., which is developing the only noninjectable (sublingual) delivery of the only approved drug (apomorphine) to be used as a rescue therapy for “off” motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Giovinazzo, Anthony. (25 July 2014). eMissourian. New Drugs Ma. http://www.emissourian.com/new-drugs-may-help-with-parkinson-s-disease/article_4ae248fc-4c93-59cc-8367-9a115906ce21.htmly Help With Parkinson’s Disease

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