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Opicapone – approved for the Parkinson’s Patient Experiencing “Off” Episodes

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects approximately more than six million people worldwide. Main found cause for this disease is low dopamine levels. Dopamine helps in transmission of signals between the areas of the brain that control all movements, including walking, writing, or talking. As the disease progress, the dopamine level keeps decreasing which results in worsening of the patient condition. Patients starts showing bradykinesia, tremor, rigidity, impaired posture and balance. Patient also may starts feeling difficulty in writing and speaking.

Unfortunately, currently there is no treatment to sure Parkinson’s disease permanently. But it can be managed by controlling motor symptoms through dopaminergic mechanism. Currently Levodopa / Carbidopa is working as standard treatment for the problem. But as the disease progresses the effect of levodopa / Carbidopa wear off. Patients then starts experiencing motor fluctuations between “On” and “Off” time. “On” time is when medication is working and “Off” is when medication is not working. When medication works, Parkinson’s disease symptoms are less, but in “Off” condition motor symptoms returns.

Opicapone is a novel, once-daily, oral, peripheral, selective and reversible catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor approved as an add-on treatment to levodopa/carbidopa in patients with Parkinson’s disease experiencing “off” episodes. It inhibits the COMT enzyme, which breaks down levodopa, making more levodopa available to reach the brain.

Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved once-daily oral Ongentys (opicapone) 25 mg and 50 mg capsules as an add-on treatment to levodopa/carbidopa in patients with Parkinson’s disease experiencing “off” episodes. As the disease progresses, patients taking levodopa/carbidopa may begin to experience “off” time between treatment doses, during which an increase in Parkinson’s disease motor symptoms such as tremor, slowed movement and difficulty walking occur. Ongentys also increases “on” time without troublesome dyskinesia, the time when the motor symptoms of a patient with Parkinson’s disease are better controlled. The company plans to launch Ongentys later this year.

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