24-Hour Parkinson’s Drug Cuts Symptoms

Longer-Acting Requip May Reduce Need for Levodopa

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on April 04, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

April 4, 2007 -- A new 24-hour form of the Parkinson’s drug Requip may provide longer-lasting relief from symptoms and reduce the need for other drugs to control the disease.

A new study shows the longer-acting version of Requip reduced by more than two hours the daily “off time” Parkinson’s patients experience as their drugs wear off and symptoms return.

In addition, people who took the 24-hour Requip were also able to reduce their daily dose of the widely used Parkinson’s drug levodopa, which is commonly used to treat the disease.

“[Requip] 24-hour prolonged release, when taken with levodopa, is effective in reducing daily ‘off time’ for Parkinson’s patients who aren’t getting the best results from levodopa,” says researchers Rajesh Pahwa, MD, of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., in a news release. “We also found the drug helped improve quality of life and motor function.”

Longer-Acting Parkinson’s Drug

In the study, published in Neurology, researchers examined the effects of the new 24-hour formulation of Requip in 393 people with Parkinson’s disease who weren’t responding well to levodopa alone.

Half of the patients took the prolonged-release Requip in addition to levodopa and the other half took levodopa and a placebo for 24 weeks. Any other Parkinson’s drugs that the patients were taking were not changed.

The results showed that the average daily ‘off time’ was reduced by an average of 2.1 hours among those taking 24-hour Requip compared with a reduction of only 0.3 hours among those taking the placebo. Patients taking Requip also reduced their daily dose of levodopa by an average of 278 milligrams.

Those who took 24-hour Requip experienced significant improvements in Parkinson’s disease symptoms, quality of life, depression, emotional well-being, stigma, and sleep.

For example, researchers found the Parkinson’s disease symptoms of 42% of those taking Requip were "much improved" or "very much improved" compared with only 14% of the placebo group.

Side effects of Requip included involuntary movements, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, hallucinations, and sudden drops in blood pressure with change in body position.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline and Skye Pharma, makers of prolonged-release Requip. GlaxoSmithKline is a WebMD sponsor.

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SOURCES: Pahwa, R. Neurology, April 3, 2007; vol 68: pp 1108-1115. News release, American Academy of Neurology.

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