Parkinson’s disease psychosis can affect up to 40 to 50 percent of people with the disease. It can include hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) and delusions (fixed, false beliefs).
To treat this symptom, doctors have used traditional anti-psychotic drugs, but those have presented challenges.
“The problem with [traditional anti-psychotic] medications is that they block the dopamine receptors or they decrease the dopamine, and as people with Parkinson’s disease know pretty well, dopamine is what’s lost in Parkinson’s,” says Rachel Dolhun, MD, vice president of medical communications at MJFF. “So if we’re blocking the dopamine that we’re trying to already replace with our [Parkinson’s] medications, we can potentially worsen the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug, called Nuplazid, which was specifically designed to treat Parkinson’s psychosis without interfering with a patient's dopamine medications.
Hear more from Dr. Dolhun about PD psychosis and Nuplazid on our next Third Thursdays Webinar: "Treating Parkinson's Hallucinations and Delusions” on May 19, 2016 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.