Despite decades of advances in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, there remains a high unmet need among patients. It is thought that there are around 12,000 people living with Parkinson’s disease in Ireland, with this figure projected to reach 20,000 over the next 15-to-20 years.
The RCPI on Kildare Street was the venue for the eagerly-awaited launch of the first triple fixed combination therapy gel for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Lecigon. Incorporating levodopa, entacapone, and carbidopa in the form of an intestinal gel, Lecigon is indicated for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease with severe motor fluctuations and hyperkinesia or dyskinesia when available oral combinations of Parkinson’s medicinal products have not given satisfactory results.
The launch event was chaired by Prof Tim Lynch, Clinical Director of the Dublin Neurological Institute at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. Prof Lynch told the audience of clinicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals that levodopa therapy is a mainstay of Parkinson’s management and is “phenomenal”, but there are problems with its absorption for some patients. Complex therapies are increasingly being used, as are dual therapies, he noted. Meanwhile, the cutting edge treatment of deep brain stimulation (DBS) is now available in Ireland, but not everyone will be suitable for this treatment.
“A new intestinal gel in the form of levo-carbidopa with entacapone is very welcome,” commented the Professor. “I can certainly see a role for it and it will be important to see how it fits into the treatment paradigm.”
Mr Robert Wood, General Manager of Britannia Pharmaceuticals Ltd, offered an introduction to the therapy. There are currently a total of 659 patients on the treatment worldwide, 337 of which were added during 2022. As this number increases, real world data is being gathered in the form of a large pan-European non-interventional study (ELEGANCE); this is currently in the recruitment phase and enrolment will commence in Ireland in November 2022. “The key message is not to delay when it comes to advanced therapies,” Wood stated.
Developments in levodopa infusion therapies were covered by Prof Dag Nyholm, Department of Medical Sciences/Neurology Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.
The Dutch experience of treatment transition to Lecigon was outlined by Prof Teus van Laar, Medical Director of the Parkinson Expertise Centre at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Lecigon is now available in Ireland and reimbursed on the high-tech scheme.