Drug Counters Immobility in Parkinson's Patients

But has its own side effects

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THURSDAY, April 22, 2004, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The Bertek Pharmaceuticals drug Apokyn (apomorphine) has received FDA approval to treat periods of immobility that affect some people with Parkinson's disease.

During these "off-period" episodes, medically known as "hypomobility," some people on standard anti-Parkinson's drugs can lose the ability to speak, rise from a chair, or walk. These episodes tend to occur as the drugs begin to wear off between dosing cycles.

The debilitating condition affects about 10 percent of the patients who take standard Parkinson's therapies.

The preventive drug Apokyn must be taken with another medication to counter its nasty side effects, which include severe nausea and vomiting, the FDA said. The drug's labeling also includes specific warnings about low blood pressure, fainting, hallucinations, and excessive sleepiness.

Apokyn received priority "orphan drug" status approval, which is granted to therapies to treat conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, the agency said.

To learn more about Parkinson's, visit the National Library of Medicine's Medline Plus site.

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