Medical Q&As

Parkinson's disease - injectable treatments?

My father has advanced Parkinsons disease. He is managing quite well but we are always looking out for anything that will assist him. My husband half heard a report on the car radio about a new injectable drug for the treatment of Parkinson\\\'s. Can you give me any more information?

I didnít hear the broadcast you are referring to so I donít know which product was being discussed. The report could have been referring to a product that is available in another country and not available on the Irish market. Alternatively it could have been referring to ongoing trials into the benefits of a new product that is still undergoing testing and is not available yet on prescription. However, I am aware of two injectable treatments that are available in Ireland that are being used for the treatment of Parkinsoní disease but their indications for use are very limited and would not be relevant to the wider community of Parkinsonísí sufferers. These drugs are botulinum toxin and apomorphine. Botulinum toxin or Botox is used for treating blepharospasm or spasm of the eyelids, which can be a problem for some people with Parkinsonís. It is also used in the treatment of dystonia that is sometimes associated with Parkinsonís. Dystonia is characterised by prolonged repetitive muscle contractions that may cause jerking or twisting movements of the body. In these two situations botulinum toxin can be used as an adjunct to the personís usual maintenance treatment. Apomorphine is also administered by injection and is used in a hospital setting for people who experience difficulties while on levodopa treatment. These difficulties include the on-off effect and the wearing-off effect. The latter effect refers to a declining duration of effect from levodopa, which means that the effect of the drug is literally wearing off. The on-off effect refers to a person feeling as if they are frozen, as if they were glued to the spot in their immobility.