New Treatment Gives Parkinson’s Patients Increased Autonomy
Being diagnosed with any medical condition is distressing, but a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is particularly devastating: physicians are telling patients that the neurons in the brain that control their bodily movements are dying. Since it is a degenerative condition, the Parkinson’s patient will likely need to rely on family, friends, or professional caregivers for support. This can understandably make patients feel weak and helpless, even if they still have some mobility and are still living somewhat independently.
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, approximately 40 percent of Parkinson’s patients develop depression. This might be due to the need for dependence on others or the harsh symptoms, which can include a mask-like face; tremors; limb stiffness; and difficulty walking, thinking, sleeping, and urinating. As the illness progresses, patients may eventually have to depend on family members to help them take their medication.
As an alternative to traditional medicine, the Mayo Clinic recommends patients try massage therapy, tai chi, yoga, and meditation. These activities promote muscle relaxation and tension reduction, which are paramount to relieving some of the adverse effects of Parkinson’s disease. Although these exercises are helpful and can improve one’s mood, they do not cut to the core of the problem.
Luckily, there is now something that does cut to the core of the problem, thanks to Cynapsus Therapeutics Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Toronto, Canada. The company is developing a non-injectable delivery of the only approved drug—apomorphine—to be used as an acute rescue therapy for “off” motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as freezing episodes and difficulty controlling limb movement. Their developmental drug APL-130277 is a fast-acting oral redesign of apomorphine that simply dissolves under the tongue. This allows patients to take it themselves—a huge benefit in that it eliminates self-injections, along with the injury and stress those injections entail—and allows patients a measure of independence.
Anthony Giovinazzo, CEO and president of Cynapsus Therapeutics, is passionate about creating a better quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. As he notes, “It is our intention and mission to help make their lives easier.”