The FDA has announced its approval for Nuplazid (pimavanserin) tablets, the first drug approved to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with psychosis experienced by some people with Parkinson’s disease. The National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly 1 million people in the US currently have Parkinson’s, with close to 50,000 more diagnosed annually.
The neurological disorder typically occurs in people over age 60, when cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine become impaired or die. Dopamine helps transmit signals between the areas of the brain that produce smooth, “purposeful movement”. i.e. eating, writing and shaving, etc. Early symptoms of the disease are subtle and occur gradually. In some people, Parkinson’s disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of people with Parkinson’s disease, may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; hallucinations and delusions; difficulty in swallowing, chewing and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.
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