According to Parkinson’s News Today, an intestinal gel comprised of levodopa and carbidopa (LCIG) is able to lower the amount of time that Parkinson’s patients spend in off episodes. These off episodes are periods in which symptoms return, as the treatment has worn off before the next dosage. The majority of patients experienced about three hours of off periods every day before being treated with LCIG.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases.
- Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body.
- In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body.
- Stage three brings loss of balance and slow movement.
- Stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently.
- Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.
Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies.
LCIG intends to target the symptom fluctuation that many Parkinson’s patients experience when they are treated with levodopa-based therapies. It is infused through a plastic tube into the upper intestine with the help of a portable pump. Later stage patients have access to this treatment in both the United States and European Union.
A study conducted by AbbVie, the creator, and the Universities of Innsbruck and Padua was published in Frontiers in Neurology. It utilized patient data from the GLORIA registry and aimed to discover which patients would find the most benefit from LCIG.
375 patients’ data was on the registry, but only 152 reported the effectiveness of LCIG at the beginning and end of their treatment. Of those 152, 131 saw episodes decrease by a minimum of one hour. An even more encouraging statistic found that 64% saw a reduction of at least three hours. While there were robust and weaker responders, a majority of participants saw a reduction in off periods.
This data is encouraging, as it proves that LCIG has the ability to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients.