Peter LeWitt from the Henry Ford Health System: New Formulation of Levodopa Aims to Serve as Rescue Treatment for Parkinson's Patients

In the early stages of treatment for Parkinson's Disease Levodopa is a popular option for patients. As the effects of the medication wear off it can make life difficult for these patients as they wait for their next dose. A new inhaled formulation could help fill in the gaps for this patient population.

In the early stages of treatment for Parkinson's Disease Levodopa is a popular option for patients. As the effects of the medication wear off it can make life difficult for these patients as they wait for their next dose. A new inhaled formulation could help fill in the gaps for this patient population.

Peter A. Lewitt, MD, of Henry Ford Health System, discussed a new formulation of Levodopa, in the form of inhalation, instead of pill form during the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Vancouver. Inhaled Levodopa is currently in phase 2 trials.

Lewitt said the drug, when inhaled is able to achieve rapid and reliable onset of the drug’s effect to rescue people from off states of Parkinson ’s disease.

For patients experiencing Parkinson’s tremors, immobility or pain, an oral medication might wear off after two hours and “leave them in a lurch,” Lewitt said. Oral medication might not kick in for an hour or more after ingestion.

An inhaled, powder-form Levodopa would be quicker acting than that, Lewitt said.

“The target is the window between when oral medication is taken and the speed of action,” he said. “The uptake seems to be highly efficient,” working between 10 to 20 minutes after inhalation.

In the inhaled form, doses are at 35 to 50mg, whereas doses through the gastrointestinal tract are 250mg per dose.

Lewitt said inhaled Levodopa is for a “rescue” application or for filling in the gaps between oral dosage. “This is an as-needed therapy. It is not replacing the oral medication.”