Pharmaceutical company UCB today announced that Neupro, an extended-release dopamine agonist in the form of a skin patch, has been approved by government organization Health Canada to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
UCB is now “undertaking all measures required to supply the Canadian market with Neupro,” the company explained in a statement. The drug should be available in pharmacies across the country by summer 2013, UCB tells The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Last summer, Neupro patches made their return to U.S. pharmacies after they were withdrawn from the market in April 2008 when a manufacturing problem made it impossible for UCB to guarantee proper dosing. The patch had previously been re-approved in the European Union as well.
Here’s how the patch works: Dopamine agonists mimic how dopamine operates in the brain, supplementing function that has been lost as dopamine-producing neurons die during the course of PD. Neupro, and other extended-release dopamine agonists, maintain as constant a level of the drug as possible throughout the course of the day. Clinical studies, including recent ones conducted in Canada, have shown that taking Neupro reduces patient "off-time," (when the effects of the medication they're taking wear off).
Another potential benefit to taking Neupro surrounds getting enough sleep. Health Canada also approved the patch to treat Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), an uncontrollable urge to move one's legs when at rest. Many with PD experience RLS.