Drug company BIAL Pharm UK has launched opicapone (Ongentys), a new drug to improve mobility in some adult patients with Parkinson’s disease, for use in the UK.
Opicapone works by restoring the levels of dopamine in the brain, which controls movement and coordination; it also enhances the effects of levodopa, which helps with movement.
As such, the drug is recommended for use as an add-on to levodopa/DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors in patients with Parkinson’s disease who experience fluctuations in the control of their condition and their ability to move.
It was granted a marketing authorisation by the European Commission in June 2016, following a positive assessment in April 2016 by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).
The assessment was based on two trials, the results of which showed that opicapone was more effective than placebo and at least as effective as the comparator entacapone in reducing “off periods” — where a patient has difficult moving — in patients with Parkinson’s disease taking levodopa combination medicines.
BIAL says it anticipates additional EU launches of the product in the next 12 months.