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First drug approved to treat hallucinations and delusions

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On Friday 29 April pimavanserin - trade name Nuplazid – was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first drug for treating hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson's.

This news follows a green light for the drug given early in April by a panel of FDA advisors.

What are hallucinations and delusions?

Some people with Parkinson's may experience hallucinations or delusions (sometimes called psychosis).

This means that they may see, hear, smell or taste things that aren't there, or have thoughts and beliefs that aren't based on reality.

Hallucinations and delusions are more common in people who have had Parkinson's for a long time, though they can affect both younger and older people.

These symptoms may be caused partly by Parkinson's and partly by some Parkinson's medication.

Pimavanserin has been specifically designed to treat hallucinations and delusions without worsening the motor symptoms of Parkinson's.
Dr Beckie Port, Senior Research Communications Officer

A new tool for managing Parkinson's

Dr Beckie Port, Parkinson's UK Senior Research Communications Officer, says:

"Hallucinations and delusions are difficult to treat in Parkinson's. There are a limited number of medications available, which are often prescribed with caution and require people to be continuously monitored for side effects.

"Pimavanserin has been specifically designed to treat hallucinations and delusions without worsening the motor symptoms of Parkinson's.

"FDA approval is a huge step forward but further regulatory approval is needed before pimavanserin will be available in the UK.

"Whilst we don’t know exactly how long it may take, hopefully there will soon be one more tool for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's on our pharmacy shelves."

When will pimavanserin be available in the UK?

Before pimavanserin can be made available as a treatment in the UK, it will also need to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). There are plans to submit pimavanserin to the EMA for approval.

We will continue to monitor the progress of pimavanserin closely and report on any developments.

If you are having problems with hallucinations or delusions, speak to your Parkinson's nurse, consultant or call our helpline 0808 800 0303.