- In alliance with a UK-based pharmaceutical company Britannia Pharmaceuticals, Vikram Hospital Bengaluru has launched Apomorphine in India. Apomorphine is available both as injections and infusion pumps. It has been adopted in the West for over 15 years in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: In alliance with a UK-based pharmaceutical company Britannia Pharmaceuticals, Vikram Hospital Bengaluru has launched Apomorphine in India. This unique drug professes to spur dopamine production by nerve cells in the brain, providing expeditious and efficient assistance to patients and enhancing their quality of life.
Apomorphine is available both as injections and infusion pumps. It has been adopted in the West for over 15 years in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
“Currently in India, patients of Parkinson’s have only two options: either oral treatment for the early stages of the disease or very expensive Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery for advanced stages. There was no treatment for the middle stages of the disease,” says Dr. Prashanth LK, a movement disorders specialist at Vikram Hospitals, Bengaluru.
Doctors feel most patients in India cannot afford DBS. This procedure is also not a choice for all ages or stages of Parkinson’s Disease. “The new drug, Apomorphine, is recommended for patients with motor fluctuations. It happens when the effect of oral medications is not lasting long enough for them. It is an effective alternative for patients who are not the right candidates for DBS, or those who do not want to undergo surgery yet,” says Dr. Prashant.
Apomorphine is a dopamine receptor stimulator. It is not an OTC medication and has to be taken under a movement disorder specialist’s supervision. “Since the drug has just been launched in India, it will initially be distributed through select centers where well-trained movement disorders specialists are available. In due course, we aim to increase the distribution footprint to cover almost all movement disorder centers and neurology clinics across the country,” says Dr. Somesh Mittal, CEO, Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru.
Dr. Vinod Metta, consultant, interventional neurologist & movement disorders specialist, King’s College & Imperial Hospitals, London, says that Parkinson’s is a unique neurodegenerative disorder symptomatic medication is available. Still, there is a huge unmet requirement for therapeutic options in fairly advanced stages. “Apomorphine pens are similar to insulin pens. They are fast-acting and give relief to patients within minutes. Conventional medicines take around 30 minutes to 1 hour to show their effect,” he says.
Parkinson’s Disease’s contemporary pervasiveness in India is around 300-400 out of 100,000, which is expected to double by 2030. It will be an important non-communicable degenerative disorder along with dementia to overwhelm the healthcare arrangement of India. Though most of the patients are above 50 years of age, it can occur in a more adolescent age group.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s include slowness in daily activities, stiffness of muscles, a change in walking style, and tremors of the hands. Many people can also have non-motor symptoms preceding the motor symptoms, such as reducing the sensation of smell, constipation, shouting, yelling, or acting in sleep. Some of these symptoms can be present for as many as 20 years before clinical symptoms like tremors appear. Dopamine imaging is an effective test to see if suspected patients have Parkinsonism, but it is available only in select centers.
Experts say that medical therapies can bring notable advancements in the manifestations of Parkinson’s. These medications are intended to increase dopamine supply, which gets exhausted in a Parkinson’s patient’s body. Parkinson’s patients need to take medications regularly, which frequently starts to fluctuate medication levels in their bodies and irregular benefits. Continuous Dopaminergic Therapy is a method by which the body receives dopamine regularly because fluctuations associated with medications are negated significantly.