Parkinson’s patients suffer debilitating side effects from drugs ‘wearing off’


The majority of people with Parkinson’s disease are left with debilitating side effects from the so-called “wearing-off” phenomenon, a charity has said.

Parkinson’s UK said that nearly three quarters (74%) of people with the condition, who take medication, experience this phenomenon with pain, stiffness and tremors becoming worse between doses.

The charity has estimated that the effect of medicines wearing off is causing people living with Parkinson’s to “lose” an average of two and a half hours a day due to debilitating symptoms.

Parkinson’s UK said that medication can be a “lifeline” for people with the condition but when patients experience the “wearing off” phenomenon medication begins to lose its effect a few hours after taking a dose and symptoms re-emerge or worsen.

The charity, which has launched a fundraising campaign for new reserach for new and better treatment, conducted a poll on more than 1,100 people with the condition.

It found that among those who experience “wearing off”: four in five notice slowness of movement; 71% suffer stiffness; over half will have a worsened tremor; 44% experience increased anxiety and 41% experience pain.

Half said it impacts their ability to do their job or day to day tasks.

Claire Bale, head of research and Engagement at Parkinson’s UK, said: “The ‘wearing off’ phenomenon in Parkinson’s can be unpredictable and causes symptoms like anxiety, freezing and slowness of movement to return in dangerous situations.

“People with Parkinson’s have told us they are reluctant to go outside and avoid social situations altogether because of these experiences.

“While we’ve made huge scientific breakthroughs in the last fifty years, this survey highlights that the current treatments available are simply not good enough.

“We know we can develop treatments that can prevent ‘wearing off’ and tackle these debilitating symptoms, but this can only happen with support from the public who can help to fund new and better treatments.”

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years – in the UK, around 145,000 people are already living with the condition.

The main symptoms include involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body- also known as tremors, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles

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