Patients Learn More About ‘Off’ Periods and Nourianz

Treatment developer Kyowa Kirin launches educational initiative

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by Mary Chapman |

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The pharmaceutical company Kyowa Kirin has unveiled an effort to help educate Parkinson’s disease patients and healthcare professionals about “off” episodes and treatments such as Nourianz (istradefylline), an adjunctive therapy it developed for such times.

The new resources ultimately seek to empower adult patients to discuss “off” times and treatment options including Nourianz with their Parkinson’s care team. They also wish to explain the role of the naturally occurring brain chemical adenosine, as well as dopamine, in patient movement.

“People living with Parkinson’s, and their families, want the moments that matter to them, which may become difficult when they experience ‘off’ episodes,” Ricky Tuazon, vice president, CNS franchise head, Kyowa Kirin, said in a press release. “To help patients have more informed discussions with their [Parkinson’s disease] care team, our new effort uses creative content to engage the viewer and explain the important role adenosine plays in movement and how Nourianz is believed to work.”

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Off Periods and Biological Clock Malfunctions

Levodopa and its derivatives replace dopamine loss in patients and are standard treatments for Parkinson’s. Dopamine assists in the transmission of signals between brain areas that regulate movements, such as talking and walking.

Such treatments generally do manage symptoms. However, they almost always result in a side effect called dyskinesia — uncontrolled, involuntary movements common among those with Parkinson’s who are undergoing treatment. About half of the individuals who are treated with these medicines are thought to experience “off” periods, when the therapy doesn’t control symptoms entirely. Such episodes typically begin within five years of initiating treatment.

Instead of focusing on raising dopamine levels, Nourianz was developed with a different approach. The treatment impedes the adenosine A2A receptor found in the brain region that controls movement. Binding and blocking the receptor prompts the release of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA), another chemical messenger related to motor function and nerve signaling.

Nourianz, which was approved in the U.S. in 2019, was developed as an add-on medication to treat “off” periods in patients on a carbidoba/levodopa regimen.

The Kyowa Kirin effort includes an updated patient website that uses videos and illustrations to explain the role of adenosine and dopamine in Parkinson’s, and how Nourianz is used during “off” episodes.

Website visitors also can hear how a patient and a care partner are managing their Parkinson’s journeys, as well as their recognition of the onset of “off” periods, and discussions with the patient’s physician about them. The website also includes other downloadable resources for Parkinson’s disease patients.

Healthcare professionals also may access the website to learn more about adenosine, access Nourianz clinical data, and to gather tools to help educate patients.