According to the Parkinson's Action Network, more than one million Americans live with Parkinson's Disease and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Now, those patients have one less pill to swallow.
The FDA has approved the first skin patch treatment for early symptoms. The once a day patch will be sold under the name Neupro and contains the drug Rotigotine. Trembling hands and legs are the most common symptoms. Studies show the patch delivery system helps maintain a steady dose of that drug which improves movement and function.
The new patch is a good reason why people showing signs of Parkinson's would want a concrete diagnosis. New treatments can slow the progression of the disease and since some of the early signs are not easy to recognize, doctors suggest families watch for emotional clues as well.
"People with Parkinson's are more depressed and more anxious overall then people with diseases with a much worse prognosis. When they are sad they may not tell you, they may not even realize it and with increased recognition, we'll be able to treat this more aggressively and it's from a similar kind of chemical imbalance that causes the Parkinson's itself," said Dr. Melissa Nirenberg, a Neurologist.
Dr. Nirenberg says today there are brain scans similar to an MRI, that can give more clues that the problem is Parkinson's. Even blood tests and gene testing can help find a diagnosis before the symptoms are obvious.
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