Apomorphine - Parkinson's drug
Apomorphine is a drug used to treat Parkinson's symptoms. It is available under the
brand name APO-go.
Apomorphine is a strong dopamine
Unlike other types of dopamine agonist drugs, which are taken as
tablets or patches, apomorphine is given by
subcutaneous injection or infusion. Subcutaneous means under
It is usually prescribed to give additional or alternative
benefit for people who have had Parkinson's
for some time.
Fluctuating Parkinson's symptoms
Apomorphine is usually prescribed to give additional or alternative benefit for people who have had Parkinson's for some time.
Apomorphine doesn't help everyone. But your specialist or
Parkinson's nurse (if you have one) may
suggest trying it if you:
- have sudden or unpredictable changes in your symptoms, or
- have severe 'off' periods that aren't controlled by other
- are reasonably well when 'on'
The terms 'on/off' or 'motor fluctuations' refer to when people
may find they can no longer rely on the smooth and even symptom
control that their drugs once gave them.
Read more in our Motor fluctuations in
Parkinson's information sheet.
How apomorphine is taken
Apomorphine can be given in different ways:
- a pre-filled disposable pen you can use for intermittent
injections as needed (APO-go PEN)
- infusion over a period of several hours via a
portable, battery-driven pump (a syringe driver) using a pre-filled
syringe (APO-go PFS)
- infusion over a period of several hours using a portable,
battery-driven pump (a syringe driver), a syringe and apomorphine
in glass vials called ampoules. These need to be diluted using salt
For each option, the dose can be adjusted to suit you. If you
only need to have intermittent injections of apomorphine between
doses of your usual tablets, the APO-go PEN may be the best
If you need more than 7 to 10 intermittent injections a day, you
may be changed to a syringe driver. This change can greatly improve
your quality of life.
If you use a pump, you can carry it in your pocket or a small
Ideally, this drug will be started under the guidance of a Parkinson's specialist.
Once you are settled on this treatment, and know how to use it, apomorphine can be continued at home.
Ideally, apomorphine will be started under the guidance of a
Parkinson's specialist. Once you are settled on this treatment, and
you and your carer (if you have one) have been trained in how to
use it, apomorphine can be continued at home.
It acts very quickly and reliably so that people who need to be
active at specific times can continue with their normal
Apomorphine can cause short-term nausea and sickness, so an
anti-sickness drug called domperidone (Motilium) will be given
alongside apomorphine, beginning a couple of days before treatment
The anti-sickness drug can be gradually reduced after a
short while. For some people, it can be stopped completely.
More information about apomorphine
Read our free publications:
Apomorphine (APO-go) Medicine Guide for independent,
up-to-date information about this medicine.
More drug treatments for Parkinson's
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