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Zelapar Cuts 'Off' Time for Parkinson's Patients

Reduces span when symptoms return as medicines wear off

THURSDAY, June 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Zelapar (selegiline HCl), a drug that helps Parkinson's disease patients have more time without the tremors, shaking and other non-controllable neurological movements, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, its maker announced Thursday.

People with Parkinson's typically take a combination of two drugs, levodopa and carbidopa, to help control symptoms including involuntary jerking movements and troubling maintaining balance. But as the disease progresses, symptoms begin to return as these medications wear off -- a period doctors call "off" time.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Zelapar's manufacturer, said in a prepared statement that the new drug reduced "off" time by an average of 2.2 hours per day during clinical testing, compared with 0.6 hours per day among people who took a non-medicinal placebo.

Common side effects of the medication include nausea, dizziness, pain, and insomnia, the company said.

More information

To learn more about Parkinson's, visit the National Parkinson Foundation.

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