December 10, 2008 13:36 ET
Parkinson's Disease Can Affect More Than Just the Body: Online Survey Finds Many Patients and Caregivers Unprepared for the Mental and Behavioral Changes Associated With the Disease
Phase III Clinical Research Study Recruiting People With Parkinson's Disease Experiencing Mental and Behavioral Changes
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA--(Marketwire - December 10, 2008) - Parkinson's disease affects 6.3 million
people worldwide. While the disease is recognized for its profound effects
on movement, up to 40 percent of Parkinson's disease patients also develop
changes in thought, behavior and judgment.
As Parkinson's disease
progresses, patients may experience what is called 'Parkinson's Psychosis,' in
which they experience changes in thought, behavior and judgment. In more
advanced stages these symptoms include hallucinations where patients see,
hear or feel things that aren't really there, and paranoid delusions where
they become distrustful of even their closest friends and family members.
The emergence of these symptoms represents a major turning point in the
course of the patient's disease.
"While the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease are difficult to
deal with, the changes in thought, behavior and judgment strain the bonds
between patients and their caregivers and families," said Dr. Bernard
Ravina, Director of the Movement and Inherited Neurological Disorders Unit
at the University of Rochester in New York.
According to an on-line survey recently conducted by MediciGlobal, a global patient
recruitment and retention specialty firm, over one-third of Parkinson's
caregivers are unaware that changes in thought, behavior, and judgment can
accompany the disease. "As a registered nurse, I was prepared for the
physical problems with my husband's Parkinson's disease but, despite my job
as a RN, I was totally unprepared for the psychiatric issues," said Carol
McLain, a caregiver who took the survey.
According to Dr. Ravina, "It's the non-physical symptoms of the disease
that are often most devastating for both the patient and caregiver. As the
patient's mental health deteriorates, the family often has to make the
painful and expensive decision of moving the patient into a nursing home."
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for these particular
non-physical symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Nevertheless, doctors often resort to the use of potent antipsychotic drugs
to treat these symptoms even though these drugs sometimes have serious side
effects, particularly in the elderly, including worsening of motor skills,
excessive sleepiness, increased infections, stroke, and sudden death in
some patients. As a result, there is a large unmet medical need for new and
improved treatment options.
A clinical trial is currently
recruiting people with changes in thought, behavior and judgment
related to Parkinson's disease to test whether their condition can be
treated safely and effectively with a new investigational drug. The
clinical trial, which is being conducted in countries around the world,
focuses on men and women who are at least 40 years of age, have an
established diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, and are currently
experiencing changes in thought, behavior or judgment.
Those caring for someone who may be experiencing changes in thought,
behavior and judgment associated with Parkinson's disease are encouraged to
call the toll-free study hotline directly at 1-866-565-0261 or visit the
web site at www.ParkinsonsMindStudy.com
to learn more about this clinical trial.