Healthy Tips

A Way Around Wearing Off

New Drug Offers More “On Time” for Parkinson’s

Some people living with Parkinson’s disease can experience periods of time during the day when their symptoms gradually or sometimes abruptly worsen, despite taking their medications faithfully. “Wearing off” can begin after only a few years of treatment and is believed to be related to the short duration of action of the most effective drug for Parkinson’s disease, l-dopa. Because Parkinson’s is a slow but progressive disease, symptoms change over time and it becomes harder for each dose of medication to prevent motor and non-motor fluctuations. When medication wears off, symptoms can return or worsen before the next dose is due. As with most characteristics of the disease, wearing off is unique to each person’s Parkinson’s experience.

Traditional strategies to overcome “wearing off” phenomenon include increasing the frequency of taking l-dopa, but this often leads to side effects such as involuntary extra movements called dyskinesias. Sometimes, adding less potent medications can be helpful, but they too can lead to intolerable side effects. In general, the longer one has Parkinson’s disease the more difficult it may become to find the right dosing regimen that results in normal motor functioning without causing side-effects.

A Response Called Rytary™

But for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones, a new treatment may stabilize symptom relief throughout the day. Rytary™, a drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is a unique formulation of carbidopa-levodopa, aimed at combating the wearing off phenomenon. By releasing the carbidopa-levodopa at different rates, Rytary™ provides longer and more stable symptom control over a prolonged period of time. Clinical trials have shown Rytary™ to significantly reduce “off time” and result in improved quality of life. Early Parkinson’s patients were shown to benefit from this drug as well.