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New Parkinson’s treatment to be rolled out on NHS

NHS England has announced the rollout of a portable drug infusion for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

NHS England has announced the rollout of a portable drug infusion for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Foslevodopa–foscarbidopa (Produodopa) is delivered through a cannula controlled by a small automatic pump. The pump is worn 24 hours a day and gradually releases the medication to better control movement-related symptoms.

Around 900 people with Parkinson’s are expected to benefit from the new treatment, which will be available from 27 February.

Foslevodopa–foscarbidopa delivers a continuous dose of medication

Around 145,000 people in the UK are estimated to be living with Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms include tremor, painful muscle cramps, and difficulty speaking and swallowing.

Many patients take numerous tablets everyday to manage their fluctuating symptoms. This can be difficult to maintain and it can also be challenging to balance symptom control with side-effects.

Oral medication can also lose its effect in the middle of the night, meaning patients can wake up with symptoms and may not be able to get out of bed to go the toilet without risking a fall.

Evidence from a clinical trial suggests that foslevodopa–foscarbidopa improves motor symptoms compared with standard care. It also provides continuous symptom management, day and night, and enables patients to give themselves an additional dose, if needed, for greater personal control over their condition.

A potentially ‘life changing’ treatment for those with Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s UK has welcomed the rollout of the new treatment and says it could be a life-changing option for those whose symptoms are not well controlled by oral medication.

Laura Cockram, Head of Campaigns at Parkinson’s UK, said: “There are very few advanced treatments for the condition, so we are delighted another one is available. The therapy means people will be able to better manage their symptoms and could potentially have a big impact on families’ lives.

“It won’t be suitable for everybody though, and people with Parkinson’s should speak to their consultant or Parkinson’s nurse to see whether it’s an option for them. We are keen to see how NHS bodies roll out this therapy to help people with the condition control their symptoms.”

While some hospitals are already putting training and resources in place to support the rollout, the charity says hospitals are currently at different stages. For this reason, in some areas, the therapy may not be available for a short while.

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