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    Parkinson’s disease: Unmet needs to be fulfilled by novel therapies and reformulations


    Heather LeachLeachThe current global Parkinson’s disease market is characterized by a number of unmet needs, which include addressing the motor complications of dyskinesia and off-episodes. The recent approval of novel therapies and reformulations of existing drugs has the potential to fulfill some of these unmet needs, particularly in patients with advanced disease.

    Related: FDA approves generic Comtan tablets for Parkinson's

    Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition in the world, affecting 3.4 million people in the 8 major markets (8MM; United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil) in 2014. According to GlobalData’s recent report, PharmaPoint, Parkinson’s Disease – Global Drug Forecast and Market Analysis to 2022, the prevalence of the disease is expected to increase to 4.3 million people by 2022.1 This is due, in part, to an aging global population, as Parkinson’s is more prevalent in the elderly population.

    In patients with Parkinson’s disease, a combination of risk factors, including age as well as environmental and genetic factors, leads to the loss of dopaminergic neurons within the substantia nigra and the accumulation of proteins known as Lewy bodies. The most frequent initial symptom is resting tremor. Other symptoms may include bradykinesia, a hunched gait, and loss of the sense of smell. As the disease progresses, bradykinesia, rigidity, and instability become more pronounced, causing moderate-to-severe disability in the later stages.2,3

    Current management

    Initially, Parkinson’s disease is controlled by monotherapy, most frequently with levodopa, a dopamine agonist, or a monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitor, such as Azilect (rasagiline, Teva Pharmaceuticals) and Eldepryl (selegiline, Somerset Pharmaceuticals) or Zelapar (selegiline, Valeant Pharmaceuticals). Combination therapy with levodopa and carbidopa is central to the management of Parkinson’s disease and is administered between 3 and 10 times per day. Most of the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease act on the dopamine pathway, either by increasing the concentration and bioavailability of the neurotransmitter, or by directly stimulating the dopamine receptors. The treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease typically requires polypharmacy—the use of multiple classes of medications in combination—and more frequent doses of levodopa.2,3


    NEXT: New drug approvals


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