Monday, September 26, 2022

On Off Periods Parkinson’s Disease

What Causes On/off Episodes In Parkinson’s Disease

Dr Stewart Factor Discusses Management of OFF Periods, Treatment Innovations in Parkinson Disease

On/off episodes, also known as off time, typically happen more often as Parkinson’s disease progresses, and levodopa becomes less effective.

Carbidopa/levodopa is considered the gold standard in Parkinson’s disease treatment, meaning it’s the most effective for treating motor symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia . Levodopa works by crossing the blood-brain barrier and converting into dopamine, low levels of which are believed to be the cause of Parkinson’s symptoms. Adding carbidopa to levodopa helps prevent levodopa from breaking down before it crosses into the brain, which helps reduce side effects like nausea and vomiting.

Some people who have Parkinsons start taking levodopa at around three doses per day. If you start experiencing off episodes, your doctor may increase your dose to four or more times per day.

Off time is common: According to patient surveys, around half of patients who take levodopa report experiencing wearing off periods. Of those patients, 25% experience it 3 to 6 hours per day, and 52% have symptoms for 1 to 3 hours a day.

What Are On And Off Periods With Parkinsons Meds

While you might expect that taking a medication on a consistent schedule would guarantee your symptoms would be kept at bay, thats unfortunately not always the case with Parkinsons diseaseand thats the core of the on-off phenomenon, says Ling Pan, M.D., clinical assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery at NYU Langone Health in New York, NY.

The on period is when the medication is doing its job to prevent tremors and other motor symptoms, explains Dr. Hui. Patients will often feel better fairly soon after taking their doseeven within half an hour, she says. Its almost like a light switch is being switched on, and they can move a lot easier.

That said, Dr. Hui explains, the effect can wear off over several hoursand thats when you hit that off period. When you first start taking the drug, though, its normal to experience a honeymoon period, she says. It may work all day, and you feel great, but overtime as the disease progresses, the medication doesnt less as long, and off-time creeps in slowly and then becomes more noticeable and more regular overtime. Typically, thats when folks with Parkinsons start to cycle between those on and off periods.

Qualitative Analysis And Interpretation Of Figurative Language

Each use of figurative language was reviewed, and a list of themes or categorizations common to at least 2 of the figurative language phrases was generated . A neurologist and movement disorders specialist with advanced training in narrative medicine then reviewed each figurative language phrase and classified it into one or more of the theme categories listed. The classifications were then reviewed by authors B.E., S.M., and L.M.C., and final categorizations were chosen after discussion. In the process, the original list of themes was refined to consolidate categories.

A goal of this analysis was to determine how a movement disorders specialist who encounters each of the figurative language phrases would interpret them. Specifically, what symptom or symptoms the movement disorders specialist believed the patient was referring to with the use of the figurative language.

List of Symptoms That the Reviewing Neurologists Used to Specify Which Symptom They Thought Each Figurative Language Phrase Represented

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Current Approaches To The Treatment Of Off Episodes In Parkinsons Disease

Olivier RascolResearch Network Departments of Clinical Pharmacology and Neuroscience, Toulouse University Hospital, Toulouse, France

The poor efficacy of levodopa in treating the OFF phenomenon in PD is caused by several pharmacokinetic issues including poor bioavailability, being only absorbed through the jejunum. Levodopa tablets can remain in the stomach for several hours due to issues with gut emptying, delaying the drug reaching the brain. In addition, levodopa has a short plasma elimination half-life of 60â90 minutes.33,34 The pulsatility of levodopa plasma levels dysregulates the cerebral and synaptic mechanism, generating post-synaptic abnormal plasticity and abnormal motor function.35,36 Objectives in PD treatment development have therefore been to find faster-acting drugs, to improve the bioavailability of levodopa, and to stimulate dopamine receptors in a more continuous manner. Approaches include:37

  • alternate formulations of levodopa with longer duration of action
  • inhibitors of dopa decarboxylation at the periphery to increase availability of levodopa in the central nervous system
  • inhibiting catechol-O-methyltransferase to increase availability of levodopa in the central nervous system
  • inhibiting monoamine oxidase B to reduce dopamine elimination
  • increasing dopamine release and
  • dopamine agonists to mimic dopamine.

New Therapies For The Acute Treatment Of Off Episodes In Parkinsons Disease

The Clinicians

Fabrizio StocchiDepartment of Neurology, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, Rome, Italy

The symptoms of OFF episodes can be caused by various factors including abnormal lingual control of swallowing and lingual festination. Patients with PD can also have a delayed swallowing reflex, which increases the risk of swallowing during inspiration, causing aspiration. Patients can also have a repetitive and involuntary reflux from the vallecula and piriform sinuses into the oral cavity.51 More importantly, many patients with PD have gastroparesis, which appears as postprandial bloating, early satiety, nausea, and vomiting.52,53 Delays in gastric emptying can cause slow delivery of levodopa to intestinal absorption sites, which, in turn, delays peaks in plasma levels leading to erratic drug responses, slow onset of action or dose failure.53â55 These issues were emphasized by gastroscopic examination of a patient, which found an intact levodopa/carbidopa tablet in the stomach 1.5 hours after it was swallowed.56 Furthermore, daytime gastroscopy has found food from the previous evening remaining in the stomachs of many patients with PD.

These developments in rescue therapies have the potential to substantially improve quality of life and help patients deal with the otherwise untreatable symptoms of OFF episodes, which are a serious burden and involve both motor and non-motor symptoms.

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Medications To Keep The Light Switch On Longer

There are three main classes of drugs that we use as adjunctive therapy: dopamine agonists, monoamine oxidase type B selective inhibitors, and catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitors. All of these act in different ways in order to enhance dopamines effect or allow levodopa to linger longer. They can increase on time typically by one to two hours each day, which can improve quality of life for our patients.

Dopamine agonists essentially pretend to be dopamine. A dopamine agonists chemical structure looks so much like dopamines that the nerve cells think theyve received dopamine and act accordingly, controlling symptoms for longer. We have three dopamine agonists on the market today: pramipexole , ropinirole , and rotigotine transdermal patch .

Next, we have what I call the alphabet soup: MAO-B selective inhibitors and COMT inhibitors. MAO and COMT are both enzymes that break down dopamine, whether its dopamine our brain produces or dopamine that comes from levodopa. MAO-B selective inhibitors and COMT inhibitors do as their names suggest: they inhibit, or block, these enzymes from breaking down dopamine. That way, more dopamine is available and it sticks around for a longer period of time, decreasing off periods. MAO-B selective inhibitors include selegiline , rasagiline , and safinamide . COMT inhibitors include entacapone , tolcapone , and opicapone .

Do You Have An Off Story To Share

This post is the first in a series about what it means to be OFF. If you have a story about OFF and what youve done on your own and with your doctor that has helped you to minimize or navigate these periods, and youd like to share it with us, please send us an email at .

This post was written by the Davis Phinney Foundation.

This blog series is sponsored by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Recommended Reading: What’s New In Parkinson’s Research

Exploring The Clinical Burden Of Off Periods In Parkinson Disease

Supplements and Featured Publications

ABSTRACT

Parkinson disease, the second-most-common neurodegenerative disorder, affects approximately 1 million individuals in the United States, and this number is projected to increase to 1.2 million by 2030. Characterized pathologically by degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, with widespread pathology in nondopaminergic systems, Parkinson disease leads to an array of motor and nonmotor symptoms that can significantly impact an affected individuals quality of life. Treatments for Parkinson disease typically focus on controlling the motor symptoms of the disease, including treating OFF periods when motor symptoms return. OFF periods can occur for many individuals with Parkinson disease, especially as the disease progresses, and can pose a substantial burden to those with the disease and their caregivers. Available treatments for OFF periods may help alleviate this burden.

Am J Manag Care. 2020 26:S255-S264.

For author information and disclosures, see end of text.

Introduction

Diagnosis of PD usually occurs after age 50 years, and incidence rises with increasing age.1 In most populations, incidence of PD is twice as common in men as in women.1 In a population-based study conducted in Olmsted County, Minnesota, incidence was observed to increase over a 30-year period, particularly in men 70 years or older .4

Etiology

Nonmotor Symptoms

What To Expect After Dbs

What’s New? Recently Approved Medications for Treatment of Acute Off Periods in Parkinson’s Disease.

Surgery to implant the leads generally entails an overnight stay, while the IPG is usually implanted as same-day surgery. During recovery, your surgeon will talk to you about caring for your wounds, when you can shower, and any activity restrictions. Its usually recommended that any heavy lifting be avoided for a few weeks.

After another two to four weeks, youll return to have your device programmed. This process will continue for several weeks to ensure the stimulation settings are optimal to control your symptoms. During these visits, you will be shown how to turn the device on and off with the handheld device and check the battery level.

Once the programming has been completed, you will have regular follow-up visits to check and adjust the stimulation to maintain the most benefit for your symptoms.

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What Is The Wearing Off Symptoms For Parkinsons Disease

Wearing off symptoms characteristically occur when the impact of levodopa medication come down / diminish before the time of the next dosage. The symptoms of Parkinsons disease is expected to return or even worsen before the next dosage of levodopa is scheduled, and then again improve after the patient is given the next dose. When the medication works and its effects can be seen, it is said the patient is on during that time, and again the when the effect of the medication worn out, it is said that the patient is in off phase. Thus, cycle is also called the on-off episode of Parkinsons disease.

The Bottom Line On On/off Periods With Parkinsons Meds

Managing the cycling between on and off periods with Parkinsons medications can be incredibly frustrating, but luckily, there are a number of effective ways to help reduce the peaks and valleys of motor symptoms.

Scientists are still exploring new and improved ways to help combat off periods with Parkinsons drugs, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. You may even consider participating in one of these clinical trials, which you can learn more about with the Michael J. Fox Foundations clinical trial matching tool.

Even more exciting is the fact that researchers are also working diligently to try to improve Parkinsons treatments in generalreally looking into the crux of the disease to try to slow its progression overall, which would in turn help with this on-off period struggle, says Dr. Hui.

There are a number of clinical trials going on, so I think we should also stay tuned for development of to slow progression of disease, she says.

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Communication With Health Care Professionals About Off Periods

PwP and carepartners were asked to recall what aspects of OFF periods were discussed at the office visit. Discussion of motor aspects was reported by a higher proportion of both groups than non-motor aspects . A higher proportion of carepartners than PwP reported discussion of all aspects. Fifty nine percent of carepartners and 79% of PwP felt that the doctor understood the burden of OFF periods on their lives. Motor aspects of OFF periods were also the aspect most frequently reported as discussed by physicians , followed by the impact of OFF periods and on carepartners: 56% of general neurologists and 64% of movement disorder neurologists), followed by non-motor aspects .

The clinical interview was used by all neurologists to assess OFF periods. Including carepartners in the clinical interview was a frequent complementary method . The frequency of use of other methods such as questionnaires, diaries, wearable devices or direct observation are shown in .

What Causes On/off Episodes In Parkinsons Disease

Medication Issues

On/off episodes, also known as off time, typically happen more often as Parkinsons disease progresses, and levodopa becomes less effective.

Carbidopa/levodopa is considered the gold standard in Parkinsons disease treatment, meaning its the most effective for treating motor symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia . Levodopa works by crossing the blood-brain barrier and converting into dopamine, low levels of which are believed to be the cause of Parkinsons symptoms. Adding carbidopa to levodopa helps prevent levodopa from breaking down before it crosses into the brain, which helps reduce side effects like nausea and vomiting.

Some people who have Parkinsons start taking levodopa at around three doses per day. If you start experiencing off episodes, your doctor may increase your dose to four or more times per day.

Off time is common: According to patient surveys, around half of patients who take levodopa report experiencing wearing off periods. Of those patients, 25% experience it 3 to 6 hours per day, and 52% have symptoms for 1 to 3 hours a day.

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The Challenge Of On And Off Periods

On and off periods with Parkinsons medications can pose a significantand frustratingchallenge when it comes to managing your symptoms, says Dr. Pan.

On/off periods are a very relevant topic because it actually can cause a lot of disability in Parkinsons, she says. Because when patients are on medications, they can almost feel like normal and do a lot of things, and once medications wear off, they are very disabled and immobilized at times.

To address the issue, your doctor may have you start taking your medication dose more frequentlyfor example, switching from taking a pill every four hours to every three. However, it becomes a logistical challenge of taking medications so often, and there are also risks of excessive dopamine, she says. For example, non-motor symptoms of Parkinsonssuch as psychosisbecome more likely the higher the dose of a dopamine agent you are taking. It becomes a difficult balance of trying to reduce motor symptoms with your medications without taking so much that youre increasing other non-motor symptoms.

Thankfully, scientists have already worked to address this issue by developing new types of medications to help you manage those off-times, says Dr. Hui.

For example, one is a sublingual apomorphine, which is a drug placed under the tongue and can kick you on within 15 minutes. Theres also an inhaler form that works within 15-30 minutes, she says. These different delivery systems can help you maximize on-time quickly.

What Does The On/off Phenomenon Feel Like

Off time is different for everyone, and depends on how your Parkinson’s symptoms normally present themselves. Also referred to as motor fluctuations, you can tell your medication is wearing off early if some of your symptoms return. For some, tremor may be the first symptom to re-appear, while for others, it could be muscle stiffness, or non-motor symptoms such as a change in mood or thinking, or fatigue.

If you notice a change in your symptoms, especially if they interfere with your daily activities, its important to talk to your doctor. Before your appointment, try tracking when your off time starts and stops. Take note of how you feel when your medication is working optimally, compared with the changes you’re experiencing.

On/off time is different from dyskinesia, which is uncontrolled movements that can look like smooth tics. Levodopa use can lead to dyskinesia, typically after a few years or more.

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Help Your Patients Uncover The Troublesome Symptoms Of Off Periods9

Both physicians and patients agree: OFF periods can be one of the most difficult aspects of Parkinsons disease. Its understood that recognizing the symptoms of OFF periods is challenging because of a variety of reasons, including interpatient symptom variability and reliance on patient reporting.9

People with OFF periods may not discuss their symptoms or communicate the impact of the symptoms to their healthcare provider as they may be unaware that the changes they are experiencing are a result of OFF periods. Because patients may not recognize the more subtle changes they are experiencing as symptoms of OFF periods, enhancing communication around the full spectrum of symptoms is important.9

The Reality Of Managing Symptoms

Dr Stewart Factor on Implications, Treatment of OFF Periods in Parkinson Disease

Dr. Benjamin Walter, of the Center for Neuro-Restoration at Cleveland Clinic, said that the average person isnt accustomed to the strict regimen of multiple medications a day thats part of everyday life for people with Parkinsons.

Most people feel burdened just taking an antibiotic, which can be difficult to remember. Now, imagine someone who has Parkinsons the minimal dosing is usually three times a day, Walter said.

He explained that the need to frequently take medication is because it usually only lasts in a persons bloodstream for 90 minutes.

Once the medication gets into the brain, its converted to dopamine and stored in dopamine neurons, which recycles and reuses that medication over and over until it is depleted. Now, its not uncommon to have patients on meds four or five times a day, he said.

Walter stressed that when discussing Parkinsons and off periods, no two people are the same.

Parkinsons is a highly variable disease. Some people will experience different motor symptoms and tremors than others.

For example, some people freeze when they walk, while others dont.

He said the off periods can be terrifying for many people and also cause a different symptom anxiety.

Walter said that its important for those taking care of a person with Parkinsons to understand how dangerous off periods can be.

He stressed the importance of making sure patients get their medications on schedule so that everything is kept in working order.

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