HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Parkinson’s medication is working, it relieves pain and controls tremors. That’s known as the “on” time.
But it wears off.
“When you’re ‘off’ it makes life really hard. You end of up having pain. You have trouble just doing the simplest of tasks,” said Jerry Boster, board president of the Hawaii Parkinson Association.
The FDA recently approved a drug called Inbrija that could help. It’s administered through an inhaler and is designed to offer relief between doses of a patient’s main medication.
Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience tested the drug on 15 Hawaii Parkinson's patients as part of a nationwide clinical trial.
"Our goal was to test them to make sure the device helped them to move easier and better," Dr. Kore Liow said.
Stephanie Cook was part of the Hawaii trial and is amazed at how fast the inhaler worked to bring her relief.
"It was immediately after the first dose," she said.
Cook said Inbrija got her Parkinson’s symptoms under control in about five minutes.
"That fast! Whereas if you take a pill it can be up to 40 minutes to an hour," she said.
It's estimated 6,000 people in Hawaii have Parkinson's and just as many are undiagnosed.
"So what this Inbrija is going to help do is make the patient more consistent daily in how they deal with symptoms, and make their quality of life better," Boster said.
Liow said Inbrija won't replace main Parkinson's drugs, but the inhaler will be a valuable tool for people with Parkinson's.
“With this new drug we’re hoping to help them overcome that ‘off’ period,” he said.
The medication should be available in pharmacies within the next two months.