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Funding enables choice to people with Parkinson's

News Release


New funding enables greater choice to people with Parkinson’s Disease


Auckland, 27th October 2005 – A new agreement between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and drug funding agency PHARMAC will allow people with Parkinson’s Disease funded access to Requip,™(ropinirole) which helps prevent the unpredictable movements caused by Parkinson’s1.

GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand Director of Commercial Operations, Michael Bryant, says the funding agreement is great news for people with Parkinson’s. “Requip is effective as an early therapy for newly diagnosed people with Parkinson’s disease2. It can delay the need for, and also improve the response to other common interventions2. The funding will enable the wider use of Requip which until now has been a private purchase medicine.”

“Since 2003 when GSK committed to making it available here many patients have been self-funding it to prevent dose increases in their other medications and the treatment side effects they can experience1. Specialists have been very supportive of Requip and are delighted they can now use it for all the people who can benefit.”

Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 in 500 people. Around 1% of people over 60 have Parkinson’s3. It is associated with trembling of the arms and legs, stiffness and rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement. It is caused by the progressive loss of some brain cells, which produce the chemical dopamine. As the cells are lost, less dopamine is produced for the area of the brain that co-ordinates movement. Symptoms develop as the brain nerve cells die off and dopamine levels drop. Tremor (dyskinesia), probably the best known and most obvious sign of Parkinson’s disease can have a huge effect on patients’ lives and in some cases has stopped them working all together3.

Requip is a dopamine agonist which works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain lessening the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by replacing the missing chemical1. Requip has been proven to reduce tremor in people with Parkinsons disease and is best used for early diagnosed patients. Requip can allow patients to reduce the amount of other Parkinson’s medicines they take1 which are commonly one cause of dyskinesia.

Deirdre O’Sullivan, National Director of Parkinson’s New Zealand says ” "The decision to widen taxpayer-funded access to Parkinson’s medications will result in significant quality of life improvements for many of the 8,000 New Zealanders with Parkinson’s disease. It will be a significant boost to neurologists, adding to the subsidised medications already available. The decision has been long awaited by patients and the medical community, who I am sure will applaud this improvement.”

ENDS


References

1. Rascol O et al. N Engl J Med.2000;342:1484-1491.
2. ReQuip Data Sheet, GSK New Zealand.
3. Parkinson’s New Zealand; Health professionals information; general information: http://www.parkinsons.org.nz/books/aboutpd.asp

What you should know about Requip

ReQuip (ropinirole hydrochloride) is a Prescription Medicine for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and is available as 0.25mg, 1mg, 2mg, 5mg tablets. The recommended starting dose is 0.25mg three times a day which is gradually increased up to 3-9mg when you can expect some effect. A maximum dose of 24mg/day. Use strictly as directed.
Do not take Requip if: you cannot take ropinirole or any other ingredients in the tablet
Tell your doctor if you have: a heart condition, taking any other medications or herbal remedies, including those for Parkinson’s.
Side Effects (common): nausea, sleepiness, fluid retention in the legs, abdominal pain, vomiting, indigestion and hallucinations. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist or health professional. Additional product information is available from GlaxoSmithKline on 0800 808 500; Consumer Medicine Information for Requip is available from Medsafe at www.medsafe.govt.nz

Requip is a trademark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited, Auckland.

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