FDA approves Parkinson’s drug
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Newron Pharmaceuticals’ Xadago (safinamide) tablets as an add-on treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease who are currently taking levodopa/carbidopa and experiencing “off” episodes. An “off” episode is a time when a patient’s medications are not working well, causing an increase in Parkinson’s symptoms, such as tremor and difficulty walking.
“Parkinson’s is a relentless disease without a cure,” said Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We are committed to helping make additional treatments for Parkinson’s disease available to patients.”
An estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, according to the National Institutes of Health, and about 1 million Americans have the condition.
The efficacy of Xadago in treating Parkinson’s disease was shown in a clinical trial of 645 participants who were also taking levodopa and were experiencing “off” time. Those receiving Xadago experienced more beneficial “on” time, a time when Parkinson’s symptoms are reduced, without troublesome uncontrolled involuntary movement (dyskinesia), compared to those receiving a placebo, according to the FDA. The increase in “on” time was accompanied by a reduction in “off” time and better scores on a measure of motor function assessed during “on” time than before treatment.
Certain patients should not take Xadago. These include patients who have severe liver problems, or who take a medicine used to treat a cough or cold called dextromethorphan. It also should not be taken by patients who take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor because it may cause a sudden severe increase in blood pressure, or by those who take an opioid drug, St. John’s wort, certain antidepressants (such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclics, tetracyclics, and triazolopyridines), or cyclobenzaprine, because it may cause a life-threatening reaction called serotonin syndrome.
The most common adverse reactions observed in patients taking Xadago were uncontrolled involuntary movement, falls, nausea, and trouble sleeping or falling asleep (insomnia).