Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size

Parkinson's Patch Nears U.S. Approval

Once-a-Day Drug for Parkinson's Disease Safe, Effective in Clinical Trials
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 3, 2007 -- A once-a-day patch is a safe and effective treatment for early Parkinson's disease, a clinical trial shows.

Transdermal rotigotine is the patch's scientific name. Under the brand name Neupro, it's already sold in Europe by manufacturer Schwarz Pharma.

Study leader Ray L. Watts, MD, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says that what makes the patch unique is its continuous, steady delivery of an effective Parkinson's drug.

"This was the pivotal clinical trial [of the patch] in North America for early Parkinson's disease," Watts tells WebMD. "It showed that this treatment provided a very good benefit for Parkinson's disease symptoms."

Watts and colleagues report the results of the initial six-month study of the Parkinson's patch in the Jan. 23 issue of the journal Neurology.

The study shows that 48% of people with early Parkinson's disease responded to the drug, vs. 19% who responded to an inactive placebo patch. Overall, patients had significantly improved scores on a test of motor function.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of brain cells that make an important chemical messenger called dopamine.

The drug L-dopa is still the gold standard Parkinson's treatment. It works by giving the brain a precursor compound that brain cells turn into dopamine. It works well -- but after about five years, patients have a wearing-off effect at the end of each dose. This effect results in an "on/off" phenomenon when patients suddenly experience erratic, involuntary motions.

Can Parkinson's Patch Outperform Its Peers?

The Parkinson's patch gives patients a kind of drug known as a dopamine agonist. It directly plugs in to dopamine receptors on brain cells. This doesn't work quite as well as dopamine itself -- but because these drugs have a longer half-life than L-dopa, they smooth out the on/off effect. Half-life is the time that it takes for half of the drug to be broken down by the body.

"There have been several pivotal studies that show if you start patients on a dopamine agonist, you get less of these motor complications after five years," Watts says. "The two currently leading dopamine agonists, Mirapex and Requip, are oral drugs that are shown to do that."

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
hands on walker
How does the disease progress?
man with serious expression
8 common questions and answers.
intelligence quotient illustration
What are the advantages of DBS?
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Eating Right
Parkinsons Exercise
daughter consoling depressed mother
senior man's hands
Parkinsons Daily