A recent clinical study, by pharmaceutical company Neuroderm, has highlighted the development of a new liquid form of Parkinson's drug levodopa.
The study involved 16 people with advanced Parkinson's who were given continuous infusion of the drug under their skin from a pump worn on a belt.
The liquid levodopa was able to maintain stable, high levels of levodopa in the blood.
A potential new option for managing Parkinson's
Levodopa is an effective treatment for many people with Parkinson's. It is normally taken as a tablet but as the condition progresses these tablets work less well, which leads to poor control of symptoms and debilitating 'off periods'.
The levodopa in tablets is absorbed in the intestines. In advanced Parkinson's, changes in digestion can affect how quickly levodopa is absorbed leading to on-off fluctuations.
A continuous supply of levodopa can provide better control of symptoms and reduce 'off periods'.
There is already a gel form of levodopa available – called duodopa – which is pumped continuously into the intestine. But duodopa therapy requires surgery and is very expensive, so access to this treatment is currently quite limited.
Head of professional engagement and education, Daiga Heisters, comments:
"We know that on-off fluctuations can make life difficult for people with Parkinson's.
"This new liquid form of levodopa holds promise as a potential future treatment for advanced Parkinson's, which could reduce 'off periods' and help people with Parkinson's stay in control."