New drug approved for OFF episodes

Today, Neurocrine Biosciences announced that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ONGENTYS ® (opicapone), a new medication for treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Opicapone is a catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor to be used once-daily as an add-on treatment to levodopa for patients who are experiencing OFF time with their current medication regimen.

Opicapone is in the same class of medications as entacapone and tolcapone which are already approved for use in PD, but it is the first that is available for once-daily use. COMT inhibitors block the breakdown of levodopa in the bloodstream which allows more levodopa to cross into the brain.

In clinical trials, opicapone was showed to decrease OFF time and increase ON time without troublesome dyskinesias. For a detailed discussion of motor fluctuations, OFF time and dyskinesias, please view this webinar.

Opicapone is not yet available in pharmacies but will become available later this year. If you have questions about whether opicapone will be right for you, please consult your neurologist.

APDA welcomes this new addition to the collection of medications available to physicians to treat the symptoms of PD as each new medication provides more ways to tailor treatment to each specific person. Especially in this uncertain time of COVID-19, we are excited about the renewed hope for PD patients that this new medication brings.