New form of levodopa for 'off periods' available in Europe

28 Mar 2023

A new, inhalable form of levodopa has been developed for people with Parkinson's to use during their 'off' periods and has just been licensed for use in Spain.

The drug, a dry powder form called 'Inbrija', has been available in the United States since 2018 and in Germany since last June, is designed to be taken up to five times each day as needed.

By inhaling the levodopa directly into the lungs, the drug can swiftly and easily enter the bloodstream and, consequently, the brain, helping to rapidly stabilise a persons' symptoms during their 'off' episodes.

Developed by Acorda Therapeutics, phase 3 testing found that the inhaled levodopa significantly reduced motor symptoms 30 minutes after dosing, and didn't significantly affect lung function when compared to placebo. However, cough and upper respiratory tract infections, alongside nausea, were the most common side effects (2017; 2018).

Whilst Acorda have announced plans to progress discussions with Asia and the European Union, there do not appear to be any public plans to license it in the UK at present.

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