Encouraging news from The Lancet was published in mid-November 2013 regarding the use of Pimavanserin to alleviate Parkinson’s Psychosis. Data from a successful phase 3 trial was revealed and strongly touted the use of Pimavanserin for psychotic symptoms as related to Parkinson’s disease. Pimavanserin is effectual at blocking serotonin 5-HT2A receptors, which are often associated with hallucinations and visual delusions in patients with Parkinson’s. There were roughly 200 patients enrolled in studies of Pimavanserin, and participants were administered either the drug or a placebo. The dose of Pimavanserin was 40 milligrams, taken once daily. Of those patients who received Pimavanserin a significant number displayed marked improvement on a Parkinson’s disease scale assessment after 43 days of treatment, as compared to the placebo group. A noteworthy improvement in symptoms of 37 percent was revealed in study data. This is encouraging as patients who were given a placebo documented just a 14 percent improvement in their symptoms of psychosis. Additionally, this nondopaminergic offered patients both safe and tolerable treatment to combat this frustrating psychosis. Unfortunately Parkinson’s psychosis affects nearly half of the patients worldwide who have Parkinson’s disease, which amounts to almost 5 million people.
The lack of effective medications to treat Parkinson’s Psychosis was a clear challenge until the advent of Pimavanserin. Once patients with Parkinson’s disease begin experiencing regular hallucinations and psychotic thoughts they are often placed in institutional settings to offer them consistent care. Psychotic symptoms are extremely distressing not only for the patients but also for the caregiver. Until Pimavanserin was used, the only treatment options for Parkinson’s Psychosis included dopamine antagonist medications, or anti-psychotics such as clozapine and quetiapine. These anti-psychotics come with a range of adverse effects, like an increased risk of stroke and a worsening of motor skills.
Another advantage of treatment with Pimavanserin gleaned from the phase 3 study was that patients who received this novel medication demonstrated a clear improvement in daytime wakefulness, nighttime sleep and overall well-being. A small percentage of patients who received Pimavanserin experienced negative side effects, with the most common adverse effect reported being a mild urinary tract infection.
These positive results offer excitement for the use of Pimavanserin for Parkinson’s Psychosis, as well as other similar diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
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