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The holidays are a whirlwind of joyful chaos – traveling, cooking, gratitude, and time with those we love. For families and friends of those living with chronic and progressive diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), the holidays may come with some additional considerations and challenges. At the same time, they provide opportunities for assistance and support from the extended family visiting this time of year.
Because immediate family likely spends a lot of time with the person in their life who has PD, it’s easy to get into a routine where they might not notice that their loved one’s symptoms have progressed or advanced. The chance to spend time with extended family and friends over the holidays offers an opportunity to get their feedback on changes in symptoms that they might notice. A sibling or niece who sees the person living with PD only a few times a year may pick up on some physical or cognitive signs that are harder to spot for those who are with the person every day.
Spotting (And Understanding) Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of PD can become more noticeable during periods of time when the medications start to wear off between doses. This is called “OFF” time.1,2
There are several symptoms of PD; an increase or worsening of these could be a sign that the person is experiencing disease progression, and/or more frequent “OFF” time. These may include:
These are not all the symptoms of PD progression and/or “OFF” time, but they may be the ones family members are likely to notice during holiday visits. So, if you do see your loved one with PD struggling with these symptoms, what can you do?
Understanding “OFF” time
Discussing Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Options
A good first step is for you and your extended family to talk with the loved one with PD and discuss their symptoms, how they’ve been feeling, and what you’ve noticed. Based on what you learn, you can suggest that it may be time to speak with their doctor about treatment options that could help reduce “OFF” time, giving your loved one more symptom-free time throughout the day.
For people with PD already taking levodopa/carbidopa, it may be time to explore an adjunctive (add-on, or additional) treatment option – like COMT inhibitors – to enhance levodopa. COMT inhibitors help to block an enzyme in the body called COMT that breaks down levodopa before it can reach the brain to help raise dopamine levels.2,6
One such COMT inhibitor, called ONGENTYS (opicapone), may be an option for your loved one with PD. ONGENTYS capsules is a prescription medicine used with levodopa and carbidopa in adults with Parkinson’s disease who are having “OFF” episodes.7
By blocking the COMT enzyme from breaking down levodopa, ONGENTYS allows for more of the levodopa to be available to reach the brain. ONGENTYS is a once daily capsule that doesn't need to be dose adjusted.7 In the ONGENTYS clinical studies, people started to see a reduction in OFF time as early as 1 week and ONGENTYS significantly reduced OFF time by about 2 hours on average vs. about 1 hour for people taking levodopa/carbidopa without ONGENTYS within 14 to 15 weeks.7,8,9
The holidays can be an excellent opportunity to reflect on how you can best help the person with PD in your life. During holiday season gatherings, if you or your family and friends happen to notice that your loved one with PD is struggling with symptoms, it may be time to talk about additional treatment options, such as ONGENTYS.
For more information on ONGENTYS please visit: ongentys.com.
ONGENTYS® (opicapone) capsules is a prescription medicine used with levodopa and carbidopa in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who are having “OFF” episodes.
It is not known if ONGENTYS is safe and effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take ONGENTYS if you:
Before taking ONGENTYS, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take nonselective MAO inhibitors (such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and isocarboxazid) or catecholamine medicines (such as isoproterenol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and dobutamine), regardless of how you take the medicine (by mouth, inhaled, or by injection).
ONGENTYS and other medicines may affect each other causing side effects. ONGENTYS may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how ONGENTYS works.
What should I avoid while taking ONGENTYS?
Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how ONGENTYS affects you.
What are the possible side effects of ONGENTYS?
ONGENTYS may cause serious side effects, including:
Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any of these side effects or notice changes in your behavior.
The most common side effects of ONGENTYS include uncontrolled sudden movements (dyskinesia), constipation, increase in an enzyme called blood creatine kinase, low blood pressure, and weight loss.
These are not all of the possible side effects of ONGENTYS. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see ONGENTYS full Product Information.
ONGENTYS is a registered trademark of BIAL-Portela & Ca, S.A
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