Healthy Life: Health Canada approves first new therapy for Parkinson’s in over a decade

Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been identified as the fastest growing brain disorder in the world. It is estimated that over 12 million people may be living with PD by 2040. Additional factors could raise the burden to over 17 million.

Closer to home, nearly 100,000 Canadians have PD, with approximately 5,500 new cases diagnosed each year. What is still elusive to so many experts is the why.

The good news is that the first-and-only non-surgical 24-hour therapy for advanced Parkinson’s disease (aPD), VYALEV, is now available in Canada and represents the first advance in more than a decade.

PD physical symptoms develop slowly and differently in people but often include tremor, limb stiffness and severe balance problems. Although there is no cure, management with lifestyle interventions, surgery and medications may improve living with the disease.

One of the biggest problems encountered with some current therapies in PD, especially as the disease progresses, is the wearing “off” of their effect, whereby symptoms become worse, and movement becomes more difficult. “Off’ periods usually come on gradually, but occasionally can be more sudden.  This might mean that a person who is out for a walk would suddenly be unable to continue walking, or when seated would be unable to get up to answer the door. 

Understanding the lived experience of these “off” periods is key to understanding their impact on daily life with aPD and has been critical in feeding into VYALEV’s research.

What it really comes down to is this: When your quality-of-life is stolen because of PD, is it possible to get it back?

By providing a continuous delivery of therapy through a subcutaneous pump (similar to how an insulin pump works), VYALEV makes the “off” periods less, which can be life-changing for people with severe movement related symptoms.

For more info, visit the Parkinson Quebec website.

– JC

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