New treatment option for patients with Parkinson’s Disease

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you will want to read this.

There is a promising new medicine for the treatment of motor fluctuations in advanced Parkinson’s disease. Washington University neurologists, Paul Kotzbauer, MD, PhD, and Brent Wright, MD, are encouraged by this new therapy and are currently offering it as an option to their patients.

Dr. Kotzbauer explains, “In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, patients may begin to experience “off” time, or periods of poor mobility, slowness and stiffness. Additionally, because patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease are more sensitive to the timing of medications, delayed emptying of the stomach presents problems since medications need to leave the stomach and be absorbed in the small intestine.”

This new medicine is not a pill – it is a combination of carbidopa and levodopa and is infused directly into the small intestine through a tube. This method is intended to bypass the stomach and a small infusion pump administers the drug continuously over 16 hours.

Even though this new option is a very promising treatment, especially for patients in the later stages of Parkinson, it is not without some drawbacks.

The treatment requires that patients wear the infusion pump throughout the day — usually in the belt region. Patients often need help from caregivers to manage the device, tend to the skin where the tube enters the body and facilitate medication refills. In early studies, people experienced occasional device-related problems with the intestinal tube, which can clog, bend or move out of position.

The most common adverse side effects of this new medication include complications during the tubing placement procedure, as well as swelling of legs and feet, nausea, high blood pressure, and depression.

Dr. Wright adds, “This extended-release treatment is a promising new option, especially for our patients in the later stages of Parkinson’s.”

If you would like more information on this new procedure for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Kotzbauer or Dr. Wright, please call 314-362-6908.

Dr. Kotzbauer sees patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the McMillan Building, 517 S. Euclid, Lower Level.

Dr. Wright sees patients at Center for Advanced Medicine, Neuroscience Center, 4921 Parkview Place, 6th floor, Suite C.