Opicapone launched in the UK

Opicapone has been launched in the UK. It may help to manage motor fluctuations and is valuable for people with Parkinson's with swallowing problems.

Having another medication available to people affected by Parkinson's will help professionals tailor drug regimens to best suit the needs of their patients.

David Burn, Excellence Network Clinical Director

Opicapone (trade name ONgentys®), a new third-generation COMT inhibitor, has been launched in the UK by the international pharmaceutical company Bial

It was approved for use by the European Commission in July.

How does it work?

Opicapone is a COMT inhibitor and similar to others already in use, it prevents the breakdown of dopamine by blocking the action of the catechol-O-methyl transferase enzyme.

This preparation only needs to be taken once a day and so could reduce the overall number of tablets required.

It is also smaller than other COMT inhibitors available on the market which may be beneficial for people with Parkinson's with swallowing problems.

A recent randomised, double-blind trial by Ferreira et al demonstrated a reduction in "off"-time with opicapone compared to placebo and so may be particularly valuable for managing motor fluctuations.

Tailoring medication to suit needs

David Burn, Clinical Director of the Excellence Network comments:

"Having another medication available to people affected by Parkinson's will help professionals tailor drug regimens to best suit the needs of their patients."

Further information about opicapone can be found at the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC).