A new way to treat off-periods in Parkinson’s – Inhaled Levodopa


This device is in clinical trials but seems likely to be approved by the FDA and may be available in 1 to 2 years. The therapy is called CVT-301. It is inhaled as one would use an asthma inhaler.

Patients with long-standing Parkinson’s almost always develop motor fluctuations, also called on-off effects. Manipulating the levodopa dose when this occurs is not always successful. An injectable medication called Apokyn has been available for years. It requires a caregiver to inject it, as the patient is in an off-state and has limited use of the hands. It is effective within minutes and benefit lasts about 90 minutes but may be associated with a fall in blood pressure with standing and nausea, which are partly preventable.

This new preparation seems easier to use by patients themselves. In a recent study, it was used about twice a day, could be prepared in 30 seconds, starts to work in about 10 minutes, and patients achieved an average of 1-1/2 hours’ reduction in off-time a day. About half had mild side effects such as dizziness, cough, nausea. No severe side effects were noted.

This is thus a noninvasive form of a rescue therapy, which will be helpful and convenient for patients.

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