Alison Streicher, Social Media Communications Student, KU Lakeland
When the movement of your body is out of your control and the disease taking you over is incurable, any hope for a new drug to lessen the pain is a piece of hope. Those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease see the new drug Rytary as that hope.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder, affecting approximately one million people with fifty to sixty thousand new cases diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Parkinson’s disease gradually affects movement; it often starts off slowly with an almost unnoticeable tremor in one hand or a loss of expression on one side of the face but can eventually take over the body’s ability to move on its own. Parkinson’s commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement in the affected individual.
On January 8th of 2015 Rytary began being produced by Impax Pharmaceuticals after being approved by the FDA after years of clinical trials. Rytary is said to be introduced in February of this year to patients suffering with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease patients have these symptoms as a lack of dopamine creation in the brain. Dopamine is of vast importance to Parkinson’s disease patients because it helps in reducing the motor system symptoms, one of the largest challenges faced by those suffering. For over forty years dopamine replacement drugs have been on the market and provided a great deal of relief. Although there is one major complaint among those taking these drugs, such as Levodopa, that is in between doses they experience what is known as “off time” where their symptoms are not managed. This off time can last for several hours depending of the severity and progression of the disease.
Rytary is said to change this though. While it is still a dopamine replacement therapy drug the way it is released into the body is unlike any other. The Rytary capsule contains two different types of beads, those which release and act immediately and those which are slow release and do not begin to act for hours after the pill is ingested. Thus reducing the symptoms until it is time to take their next dose. Another positive attribute of Rytary is its capsules ability to be opened. This allows the beads to be sprinkled on food such as yogurt or applesauce and consumed for those patients with difficulty swallowing.
Two studies were conducted during the clinical trial stages of Rytary. In the second trial 393 patients were tested given either Rytary or the placebo drug. The results of this trial showed that those given Rytary had less “off time” than they experienced prior.
The release of Rytary will not have a major impact on the general public because not everyone has or knows someone with Parkinson’s disease. Although for those who do suffer or have a family member who is affected Rytary will be a changing force in their lives. In terms of lifestyle changes patients who begin taking Rytary will be able to experience more time with their loved ones while in a happy and comfortable state of mind. As someone who watched another suffer from Parkinson’s I am hopeful that this will be a positive step for Parkinson’s patients.
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