I’m Gail, and I’ve been living with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s since 1999. Even before my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I’d experienced symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness. But I didn’t tell my doctor about the symptoms for a long time, because I thought that they were due to my Parkinson’s.
What else could it be?
Symptoms like Gail’s may be due to another condition, called neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, or “nOH.” This condition can cause dizziness or lightheadedness upon standing or changing position.
“I wasn’t able to enjoy my usual activities: I was afraid I would black out.”
“When I would have an episode of symptomatic nOH, I would feel very lightheaded and dizzy. I really felt like I was going to faint, or just black out. As time went on, the symptoms began to make my world feel smaller and smaller. I started staying in my house more and I avoided driving and doing other social activities that I enjoyed.”
The good news is that symptomatic nOH can be both diagnosed and managed
“When I finally received a diagnosis of symptomatic nOH, I was so relieved! I finally understood that my symptoms were not necessarily part of my Parkinson’s, but instead were due to a condition I had along with my Parkinson’s.”
“Although not every patient with Parkinson’s has symptomatic nOH, about 20% of us do. Since my diagnosis, I have been managing my salt and fluid intake and taking NORTHERA® (droxidopa) to help manage my symptoms of nOH.” While NORTHERA works for Gail, not all patients may experience benefit from this treatment. Talk to your doctor to see if NORTHERA could be right for you.
NORTHERA is the first and only FDA-approved treatment specifically studied in patients with symptomatic nOH
The FDA approval of NORTHERA was based on a clinical study of 171 adults with Parkinson’s disease and symptomatic nOH. The majority of patients in the clinical trial experienced an improvement in symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, and the feeling that you are going to black out by Week 1.
How can symptomatic nOH be managed with NORTHERA?
There is no cure for symptomatic nOH, but NORTHERA may help reduce the symptoms. NORTHERA is a medication provided in a capsule and taken 3 times a day.
If your doctor prescribes NORTHERA for symptomatic nOH, he or she will likely start you at a low dosage strength. Based on how you feel, he or she may increase the amount you take until you reach the dosage strength that best manages your symptoms. The process of gradually increasing the dosage strength of medication is called titration.
It is recommended that the dosage strength of NORTHERA be increased every 1 to 2 days. Your doctor will determine if and when your dosage strength should be increased, until the strength that best manages your symptoms is found.
A final note from Gail:
“I want others to know that just because you have Parkinson’s doesn’t mean you can’t manage the symptoms of nOH. Talk to your doctor. These symptoms may be treatable.”
As with all medications, individual patient experiences may vary.
©2020 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. NORTHERA is a registered trademark of Lundbeck NA Ltd. DRX-B-100352
NORTHERA (droxidopa) is a prescription medication used to reduce dizziness, lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adults who experience a significant drop in blood pressure when changing positions or standing (called symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH)) and who have one of the following:
- Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that causes slowness in muscle movement as well as shaking in the hands
- Multiple system atrophy (MSA), a Parkinson’s-like disorder with more widespread effects on the brain and body
- Pure autonomic failure (PAF), a neurodegenerative disease that results in frequent drops in blood pressure upon standing
- Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, a condition where the body cannot make enough of the hormones that help regulate blood pressure
- Non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy, an inability to maintain blood pressure upon standing that can be caused by a number of rare diseases
Effectiveness beyond 2 weeks of treatment has not been established, and your doctor will decide if you should continue taking NORTHERA.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Do not take NORTHERA if you have a known allergy to NORTHERA or its ingredients.
- NORTHERA may cause high blood pressure when lying down, which could lead to strokes, heart attacks, and death. To reduce this risk of supine hypertension, take your late afternoon dose of NORTHERA at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening side effect reported with NORTHERA. Call your doctor right away and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these signs and symptoms: high fever, stiff muscles, movements that you cannot control, confusion or problems thinking, very fast or uneven heartbeats, or increased sweating. NORTHERA should be stopped immediately if NMS is diagnosed.
- If you have coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat, or heart failure, NORTHERA may worsen the symptoms of these disorders. Call your doctor if your symptoms become worse.
- NORTHERA may cause allergic reactions. Stop taking NORTHERA and contact your doctor right away, or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction such as: fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, swelling, trouble breathing, hives, or rash. NORTHERA contains tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No. 5), which may also cause an allergic reaction, especially if you have had a reaction to aspirin.
- The most common side effects with NORTHERA are headache, dizziness, nausea, and high blood pressure.
- Taking NORTHERA with other medications may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if you take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- You should not breastfeed during treatment with NORTHERA.
- If you plan to become or are currently pregnant, talk to your doctor as it is not known if NORTHERA could harm your unborn baby.
- Take NORTHERA the same way each time, either with or without food.
- If you miss a dose of NORTHERA, take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not double the dose.
For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning for supine hypertension.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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