NPS REVIEWS NEW MEDICINE TO TREAT PARKINSON’S DISEASE

A new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, rasagiline (brand name Azilect) adds to the range of options for people with Parkinson’s disease, but is unlikely to control symptoms any better than existing treatments, according to a new independent review by NPS.

Rasagiline (Azilect) was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 August 2012.

Parkinson's disease symptoms are caused by a lack of dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical produced in the brain which affects movement.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that medicines for Parkinson’s disease all work by increasing the amount of dopamine available to the brain, but do this in different ways.

“When it comes to deciding the best treatment for you, there are a few factors you and your doctor will need to consider carefully, including your age, your symptoms and other medical conditions, what other medicines you take and the possibility of long-term treatment side effects,” says Dr Binns.

“The best treatment for you is the one with the best balance of side effects and symptom control.

“Rasagiline may benefit people who are unable to take other medicines for Parkinson’s disease due to side effects, or those recently diagnosed with less severe Parkinson’s symptoms. It can also be added to levodopa therapy.”

Dr Binns recommends people considering this medicine read the full review in Medicine Update before having an informed discussion with their doctor or pharmacist. The independent review outlines who is the medicine is suitable for, how it should be used, how it works, any potential side effects and how it compares to existing treatments.

“Before starting any new medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how it works, potential side effects and whether it is the best medicine for you,” says Dr Binns.

“Educate yourself about your medicine options so you can have a well-informed discussion with your health professional and be an active partner in your own health care.”

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