New Parkinson's drug, safinamide, launched in UK

This week commencing 23 May, international pharma company Zambon and its partner Newron Pharmaceuticals launched a new Parkinson’s drug called safinamide (trade name Xadago®) in the UK.

The drug gained approval in the EU last December following a 2 year study in people with mid to advanced Parkinson's who were already taking levodopa.

The trial showed that safinamide helped reduce 'off' periods (when medication stops working) without increasing the risk of dyskinesia and improved quality of life and mood.

It may also help reduce levodopa-induced involuntary movements, called dyskinesia.

It gives us one more tool for managing the symptoms of Parkinson's
Professor David Burn, clinical director of the Excellence Network

How does it work?

Safinamide is an MAO-B inhibitor and, similar to others already in use, prevents the breakdown of dopamine by blocking the monoamine oxidase type B (MAO-B) enzyme.

However, this new drug blocks the MAO-B enzyme in a slightly different way which may make it more effective in the treatment of Parkinson's.

A new tool for managing Parkinson's

Professor David Burn, clinical director of the Parkinson's UK Excellence Network, said:

"It is good to know that another treatment that has been shown to benefit people with Parkinson's will now be available in the UK.

"Whilst it's very much part of the spectrum of treatments already available as opposed to completely new medication, it does give us one more tool for managing the symptoms of Parkinson's."

How do I get it?

For more information about getting the drug, speak to your Parkinson's specialist.

Safinamide performs the same function as some existing Parkinson's medication, so your clinician will only prescribe it if appropriate.

We're always campaigning for new medication to be made available, for diagnosis to happen more quickly and for health care providers to deliver high quality services. If you believe these things are important and want to help us achieve positive change, you can sign up to our campaigns network.