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AbbVie Announces Availability of New Advanced Parkinson's Treatment in Canada

DUODOPA improves quality of life for those with advanced stages of disease

MONTREAL, April 10, 2014 /CNW/ - AbbVie today announced that a new treatment called DUODOPA® (levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel) is now available to Canadians with advanced Parkinson's disease. Currently, more than 100,000 Canadians live with Parkinson's – a progressive, incurable neurological disorder that can significantly affect the quality of life of patients, their families and caregivers.

DUODOPA is approved in Canada for the management of advanced Parkinson's disease in adults with severe, disabling motor fluctuations and hyper-/dyskinesia (involuntary movements) not satisfactorily controlled by combinations of available oral medicinal products for Parkinson's disease.

"A major problem that emerges over time in people with Parkinson's disease is fluctuations in their ability to move due to unreliable absorption of oral medications. This leads to inconsistent delivery of the chemical dopamine which controls movement to the brain resulting in unpredictable motor function," said Dr. Anthony Lang of the Movement Disorder Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, which is one of four centers of excellence in Canada to treat advanced Parkinson's patients with this new treatment. "DUODOPA is a treatment option that enables patients to regain control over their movements and balance which in turn drastically improves their quality of life."

Parkinson's disease, which involves significant loss of limb and balance control, is most commonly diagnosed at 50-60 years of age – although diagnosis can occur at a much younger age. The standard treatment for Parkinson's disease begins with oral therapies, including levodopa, which usually work well during the first years. As the disease progresses, oral therapies no longer provide satisfactory control over severe motor fluctuations and dyskinesia. Now with DUODOPA there is a new option.

"I am a writer and I could not write. I would have very painful tremors in my right hand and rigidity on my entire left side," said Doug Curtis, a playwright who has been living with Parkinson's disease for 10 years. He is one of the first Parkinson's patients in North America to receive DUODOPA.  "Parkinson's took away my ability to express myself. But now I can write again. The tempo of my life has returned.  I now have the confidence to take on Parkinson's head on."

"My husband was progressively getting worse as he moved into the advanced stages of the disease. Simple daily tasks became a challenge and he became dependent on me," said Heather Moore, Doug's wife and caregiver. "Today, I see Doug's condition improving and because of this progress my family has regained a sense of normalcy in our lives."

About Parkinson's Disease (PD)
PD is a progressive neurological disease that affects approximately 6.3 million people, making it the second most common degenerative neurological disorder worldwide1,2.

The severity of PD and how it impacts an individual varies from person to person. The symptoms are predominantly characterized by problems with body movements, called motor symptoms3. These symptoms include tremor, or shaking (often in the hand, arm or leg); rigidity, or stiffness in muscles; slowness of movement, and poor balance and instability3,4. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can worsen to the point where a person becomes dependent on others to perform even basic activities, such as help getting out of a chair and turning over in bed3,5.

Currently there is no cure for PD and symptoms may gradually continue to worsen in the years following diagnosis6. The goal of treatment for PD is to manage motor symptoms, which reduces tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement1.


  • DUODOPA® is indicated for treatment of advanced levodopa-responsive PD with severe motor fluctuations and hyper-/dyskinesia when available combinations of PD medicinal products have not given satisfactory results7.
  • DUODOPA® provides an effective treatment for people with PD enabling more "ON" time in comparison to oral levodopa7.
  • DUODOPA® was approved in recognition of a high unmet need for effective therapies and no satisfactory alternatives8.
  • DUODOPA® is contraindicated in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma, severe liver and renal insufficiency, severe heart failure, severe cardiac arrhythmia, suspicious, undiagnosed skin lesions or a history of melanoma, acute stroke and in patients taking non-selective MAO inhibitors and selective MAO type A inhibitors7.

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. AbbVie employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com and www.abbvie.ca. Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Mobin A. A comparative analysis of how Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali changed the world's views on Parkinson's disease. J Parkinsonism Restless Legs Syndrome 2011;1:1–4.
2 de Lau LM, Breteler MM. Epidemiology of Parkinson's disease. Lancet Neurol 2006;5:525–35.
3 Jankovic J. Parkinson's disease: clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008;79:368–376.
4 Clarke CE. Parkinson's disease. BMJ 2007;335:441–445.
5 ICD9 Data.com. Parkinson's disease 332. Available at: http://www.icd9data.com/2013/Volume1/320-389/330-337/332/default.htm (Last accessed December 2013).
6 Denyer R, Douglas MR. Gene therapy for Parkinson's disease. Parkinsons Dis 2012;2012:757305.
7 AbbVie Limited. Summary of product characteristics: Duodopa intestinal gel, October 2013. Available at: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/20786/SPC/Duodopa+intestinal+gel/ (Last accessed December 2013).
8 European Medicines Agency. Public summary of opinion on orphan designation: levodopa/carbidopa (gastroenteral use) for the treatment of advanced idiopathic Parkinson's disease with severe motor fluctuations and not responding to oral treatment. Available at: http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Orphan_designation/2009/10/WC500006499.pdf (Last accessed December 2013).


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