New drug delivery system shows promise in managing Parkinson's

Medical researchers say a new treatment could effectively combat the biggest obstacle in managing Parkinson's Disease – the difficulty in absorbing medications because of erratic muscles that control digestion. The development could significantly enhance management of the disease in nursing homes and other long-term care providers charged with caring for some of the 60,000 new cases diagnosed every year in the United States.

Levodopa (L-DOPA) is still considered the “gold standard” that effectively controls motor deficits in the early stages of the disease, researchers noted in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. But John Slevin, M.D., professor of neurology and vice chair of research at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at University of Kentucky, claims he and his colleagues have developed a new delivery system – a specially developed gel called CLES (Duopa®) transmitted directly into the small intestine using a portable infusion pump, according to published reports.

Slevin said patients with advanced PD treated with the new method showed marked improvement in symptom fluctuations with reduced dyskinesia, or difficulty in performing voluntary movements. CLES was approved by the FDA in January and could be in widespread use within six months.