Teva Pharmaceuticals has announced the FDA approval for the drug Azilect used to combat Parkinson’s Disease.
The disease is a degenerative progressive disease of the central nervous system. It is a member of a group of conditions called motor system disorders, due to the lack of dopamine producing brain cells. Some of the symptoms of the debilitating disorder are trembling of the extremities (including arms and legs) a slowing down of movement and stiffness. The disease tends to strike people over 50 years of age. The saddest aspect of the disease is the progression of it, usually leading to a complete disruption of every day activities. Both the late Pope John Paul II and Michael J. Fox have the disease. About two million people in the United States have Parkinson’s and 60,000 more cases are diagnosed each year.
Sinemet has long been the drug used to treat Parkinsons. It is used to relieve the tremor and weakness associated with it. Sinemet is actually two separate drugs, levodopa, which treats the symptoms and carbidopa, which keeps vitamin B-6 from destroying the levodopa. Being able to combine Sinemet and Azilect means greater improvements in the advanced stages of the disease. Sinemet needs to be taken every four to eight hours to be completely effective against tremors. By adding Azilect, it means less discomfort and more control of symptoms when the Sinemet begins to wear off.
The results of the medication have proven to be very promising, although some precautions need to be taken:
Azilect is contraindicated with:
-St. John’s Wort
They also stated that users should avoid SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
Another Drug approved for the Dementia aspect of Parkinson’s Disease is Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate) for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia (chronic loss or impairment of intellectual capacity) associated with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the central nervous system. Exelon was previously approved for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.
Exelon is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceutical. Valeant Pharmaceuticals has also just received approval for their drug Zelapar, which can be used with Sinemet as well.
For more information on Parkinson’s Disaese contact:
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York, NY 10163
Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF)
New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212-923-4700 800-457-6676
American Parkinson Disease Association
135 Parkinson Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305-1425
Tel: 718-981-8001 800-223-2732 Calif: 800-908-2732