After years of waiting for the NEUPRO patch to be approved by the FDA, Parkinson’s patients and RLS sufferers will FINALLY have some relief. Today the FDA has announced that the NEUPRO patch is approved for sale in the United States. This has been a long and tormenting wait for patients that had access to the NEUPRO patch but were forced to find alternatives when UCB voluntarily withdrew the product from the U.S. market. I am happy that we have a resolution and that many of my friends are now able to have the medicine that they so desperately wanted.
Here is the announcement from the PRNewswire:
BRUSSELS and ATLANTA, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — regulated information—UCB announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Neupro® (Rotigotine Transdermal System) for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of advanced stage idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) and as a treatment for moderate-to-severe primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Neupro® was previously approved by the FDA for the signs and symptoms of early stage idiopathic PD. Neupro® is a dopamine agonist patch that provides continuous drug delivery for patients with PD and RLS. The FDA has also approved UCB’s new formulation of Neupro®.
“Neupro® represents an innovation in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome,” said Prof. Dr. Iris Loew-Friedrich, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Projects and Development at UCB. “UCB is thrilled to make Neupro® available to patients living with these serious diseases.”
“RLS can be a serious condition with symptoms that affect patients during the day as well as at night; and Parkinson’s disease symptoms can have a broad impact on patients. Neupro® provides a novel way of treating RLS and PD through continuous transdermal dopaminergic delivery. It can help patients manage the unpredictable nature of these chronic conditions,” said William Ondo, M.D., Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
As a PD treatment, the mechanism of action of Neupro® is thought to be related to its ability to stimulate dopamine receptors within the caudate-putamen, the region of the brain that regulates movement. Similarly, in RLS, the mechanism of action of Neupro® may be related to its ability to stimulate dopamine receptors. The precise mechanism of action of Neupro as a treatment for these diseases is unknown.
Data Demonstrated Significant Symptom Improvement for PD and RLS
The effectiveness of Neupro® in the treatment of the signs and symptoms of idiopathic PD was established in five parallel group, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials conducted in the U.S. and abroad. Depending on trial design, patients underwent a weekly titration of Neupro® in 2 mg/24 hours increments to either the randomized dose or optimal dose.
In three trials, statistically significant improvements in the combined scores on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) were observed in early stage PD patients receiving Neupro® compared with patients receiving placebo. The UPDRS is a multi-item rating scale intended to evaluate mentation, activities of daily living (ADL), motor performance, and complications of therapy. The three trials measured only the ADL and motor performance sections of the UPDRS. The UPDRS contains 13 questions relating to ADL, such as speech, dressing, and cutting food with utensils, and 27 questions related to the cardinal motor symptoms in PD patients—i.e., tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability.
Two trials of Neupro® in patients with advanced PD examined change from baseline in “off” time, periods when the effectiveness of medication wears off and PD symptoms return. Statistically significant changes in off-times were observed in advanced PD patients receiving Neupro® compared with those who received placebo.
The efficacy of Neupro® in the treatment of RLS was primarily evaluated in two fixed-dose, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with six-month maintenance periods. Patients received Neupro® doses ranging from 0.5 mg/24 hours to 3 mg/24 hours, or placebo, once daily.
Statistically significant improvements in sum scores on the International RLS Rating Scale (IRLS Scale) and the Clinical Global Impression – Improvement (CGI-I) assessment were observed in RLS patients receiving Neupro® compared with those receiving placebo. The IRLS Scale contains 10 items designed to assess the severity of sensory and motor symptoms, sleep disturbance, daytime somnolence, and impact on activities of daily living and mood associated with RLS. The CGI-I is designed to clinically assess RLS symptoms on a 7-point scale.
In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (greater than or equal to 5% greater than placebo) for the highest recommended doses of Neupro for treatment of Parkinson’s disease were nausea, vomiting, somnolence, application site reactions, dizziness, anorexia, hyperhidrosis, and insomnia. The most common adverse reactions (greater than or equal to 5% greater than placebo) for the highest recommended dose of Neupro for treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome were application site reactions, nausea, somnolence, and headache.
About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, degenerative neurological disease which affects approximately seven million to 10 million people worldwide. PD develops with the loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. The symptoms of PD can have an impact on many dimensions of patients’ lives. As dopamine levels fall, movement (motor) symptoms—tremors (uncontrollable shaking), rigidity (stiffness or muscle tensing) and bradykinesia (slowness and loss of spontaneous movement)—can progress, along with the underlying symptoms of PD, which are less well recognized and may be under-treated. Underlying symptoms can occur in over 90% of PD patients and include sleep disturbance, such as insomnia, vivid dreams and daytime drowsiness, mood and cognitive changes, pain, depression, anxiety, apathy, gastrointestinal disorders, sexual dysfunction, bladder problems and fatigue.
About Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable urge to move to gain relief. Over 80% of people with RLS also have periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), which causes rhythmic limb movements during sleep. RLS affects between three percent and 10 percent of the U.S. population to some extent. Some estimates are much higher because RLS is thought to be underdiagnosed, and in some cases, misdiagnosed. Most people with RLS have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Daytime symptoms of RLS, such as inability to sit still and involuntary leg jerks, are increasingly recognized. While the underlying pathophysiology of RLS is not fully understood, it is thought to involve central dopamine systems. Recent neuroimaging data suggest that RLS patients may carry an abnormality in dopamine transport that can be visualized both day and night. RLS can cause exhaustion and daytime fatigue, and may affect work and personal relationships. Patients with moderate-to-severe RLS are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks. These patients may require long-term treatment for their RLS symptoms.
About Neupro® in the U.S.
Neupro® (Rotigotine Transdermal System) is indicated for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and moderate-to-severe primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). For more information about Neupro visit www.neupro.com.
U.S. Important Safety Information for Neupro®
Neupro® contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people.
Patients treated with Neupro® have reported falling asleep while engaged in activities of daily living and somnolence. In clinical trials for the highest recommended Neupro® dose, the incidence of the treatment difference between Neupro® and placebo for somnolence was 16% for early-stage Parkinson’s disease, 4% for advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease, and 6% for Restless Legs Syndrome. Some patients perceived no warning signs, such as excessive drowsiness. Patients should be advised to exercise caution while driving, operating heavy machinery or working at heights during treatment with Neupro®.
There is an increased risk for hallucinations in patients with advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease treated with Neupro®. In clinical trials for the highest recommended Neupro® dose, the incidence of the treatment difference between Neupro® and placebo for hallucinations was 4%, and this difference increased with increasing dose. Patients also may experience new or worsening mental status and behavioral changes, which may be severe, including psychotic-like behavior during Neupro® treatment or after starting or increasing the dose of Neupro®.
Neupro® may cause symptomatic postural/orthostatic hypotension and syncope, especially during dose escalation, elevated blood pressure, elevated heart rate, weight gain and fluid retention. Neupro® should be used with caution in patients with severe cardiovascular disease.
Case reports suggest that patients can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money, binge eating, and other intense urges, and the inability to control these urges while taking medications, including Neupro®, that increase central dopaminergic tone and that are generally used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Patients should be monitored for the development of new or increased urges while being treated with Neupro®. Dose reduction or discontinuation of Neupro® should be considered if such urges develop.
Neupro® may increase the dopaminergic side effects of levodopa and may cause and/or exacerbate pre-existing dyskinesia. In clinical trials for the highest recommended Neupro® dose, the incidence of the treatment difference between Neupro® and placebo for dyskinesia was 7% for advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease, and this difference increased with increasing dose.
Neupro® can cause application site reactions, and some may be severe. In clinical trials for the highest recommended Neupro® dose, the incidence of the treatment difference between Neupro® and placebo for application site reactions was 15% for early-stage Parkinson’s disease, 23% for advanced-stage Parkinson’s disease, and 39% for Restless Legs Syndrome. Most reactions were mild or moderate in intensity and were limited to the patch area.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population. Patients should be monitored for melanomas frequently when using Neupro®. Dopaminergic medicinal products, including Neupro®, may cause augmentation and rebound in RLS patients.
The most common adverse reactions (greater than or equal to 5% greater than placebo) for the highest recommended doses of Neupro® for treatment of Parkinson’s disease are nausea, vomiting, somnolence, application site reactions, dizziness, anorexia, hyperhidrosis, and insomnia. The most common adverse reactions (greater than or equal to 5% greater than placebo) for the highest recommended dose of Neupro® for treatment of Restless Legs Syndrome are application site reactions, nausea, somnolence, and headache.
Additional important safety information for Neupro® can be accessed at www.neupro.com/pi.
About Neupro® in the European Union
Neupro® (Rotigotine) is approved in the European Union for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of early-stage idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, as monotherapy (i.e. without levodopa) or in combination with levodopa, i.e. over the course of the disease, through to late stages when the effect of levodopa wears off or becomes inconsistent and fluctuations of the therapeutic effect occur (end of dose or on-off fluctuations). Neupro® is also approved in the European Union for the symptomatic treatment of moderate to severe idiopathic Restless Legs Syndrome in adults.
Neupro® in the European Union Important Safety Information
Neupro® is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of its excipients, and in case of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or cardioversion. Neupro® should be removed if the patient has to undergo MRI or cardioversion to avoid skin burns.
It is recommended to monitor blood pressure, especially at the beginning of treatment, due to the risk of postural/orthostatic hypotension associated with dopaminergic therapy and reported during Neupro® treatment. Neupro® has been associated with somnolence and episodes of sudden sleep onset. Patients treated with dopamine agonists including Neupro®, have been reported pathological gambling, increased libido and hypersexuality. Symptoms suggestive of neuroleptic malignant syndrome have been reported with abrupt withdrawal of dopaminergic therapy. Therefore it is recommended to taper treatment.
Hallucinations have been reported, and patients should be informed that hallucinations can occur.
Cases of cardiopulmonary fibrotic complications have been reported in some patients treated with ergot-derived dopaminergic agents. Neuroleptics given as antiemetic should not be given to patients taking dopamine agonists. Ophthalmologic monitoring is recommended at regular intervals or if vision abnormalities occur.
External heat, from any source should not be applied to the area of the patch. Exposure of a skin rash or irritation to direct sunlight could lead to changes in the skin color. If a generalized skin reaction (e.g. allergic rash) associated with the use of Neupro® is observed, Neupro® should be discontinued.
Caution is advised when treating patients with severe hepatic impairment or acute worsening of renal function, a dose reduction might be needed.
The incidence of some dopaminergic adverse events, such as hallucinations, dyskinesia, and peripheral oedema generally is higher when given in combination with L-dopa. This should be considered when prescribing Neupro®.
Neupro® contains sodium metabisulphite, a sulphite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people.
Neupro® should not be used during pregnancy. Breast-feeding should be discontinued. In restless legs syndrome augmentation may occur. Augmentation refers to the earlier onset of symptoms in the evening (or even the afternoon), increase in severity of symptoms, and spread of symptoms to involve other body parts.
At the beginning of therapy, dopaminergic adverse reactions, such as nausea and vomiting, may occur. These are usually mild or moderate in intensity and transient, even if treatment is continued.
Adverse drug reactions reported in more than 10% of Parkinson’s patients treated with Neupro® are nausea, vomiting, application site reactions, somnolence, dizziness and headache. The majority of these application site reactions are mild or moderate in intensity.
Adverse drug reactions reported in more than 10% of RLS patients treated with Neupro® are nausea, application site reactions, asthenic conditions (including fatigue, asthenia, malaise) and headache. The majority of these application site reactions are mild or moderate in intensity.
All Neupro® supply should be stored in a refrigerator (2oC-8oC). There is no need for patients to transport Neupro® patches in special containers and they must not be stored in a freezer compartment.
Please refer to the European Summary of Product Characteristics for full prescribing information (Revised August 2011):
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