A recent clinical trial conducted at Evergreen Healthcare shows that a new form of a common drug used to treat Parkinson's Disease greatly improves the quality of life for patients and reduces the affects of symptoms such as tremors, slowness, stiffness and difficulty walking.
Evergreen was the only site in the Pacific Northwest to hold the trial, which was led by Dr. C. Warren Olanow, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
The trial tested standard oral dosages of a Parkinson's drug against the newer levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel (LCIG) and found that the intestinal treatments gave patients an average of two extra hours per day of reduced symptoms and improved movement.
"We have been involved in the trials since 2008," said Dr. Alida Griffith, principal investigator for the trial at Evergreen's Booth Gardner Parkinson's Care Center. "Levodopa is the 'gold standard' treatment for Parkinson's disease."
The intestinal gel contains levodopa and carbidopa, two drugs commonly prescribed for Parkinson's, and is infused through a portable pump connected to a tube implanted in the intestine.
In the three-month, double-blind trial, 71 participants were randomized to receive either the continuous infusion of LCIG and dummy pills or a dummy intestinal gel and pills that contained levodopa and carbidopa. At the start of the study, the average person had Parkinson's disease for about 11 years and experienced 6.6 hours of symptomatic behavior per day. A total of 93 percent of participants completed the study.
The results of the study are set to be presented as part of the Emerging Science program (formerly known as Late-Breaking Science) at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans from April 21 to April 28, 2012.