Opicapone (Ongentys), a once-daily oral add-on treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease, has been accepted for use by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).

It has been accepted for adult patients with Parkinson's disease as adjunctive therapy to preparations of levodopa/ DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors (DDCI) with end-of-dose motor fluctuations who cannot be stabilised on those combinations.

With this decision by the SMC, Scotland has become first of the four UK Nations to enable unrestricted equitable access to opicapone to suitable patients with Parkinson’s disease. Prior to this approval, some of these patients would have required more invasive therapies such as injection, infusion or pump to manage their condition if other treatments failed.

Dr Donald Grosset, former Consultant Neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, said: “It is always very helpful to have a range of treatment choices that can be tailored for each individual person with Parkinson’s.”

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder which affects an estimated 14,587 people in Scotland.

Wearing off has a huge impact on people with Parkinson's disease

Tanith Muller, Parliamentary and Campaigns Manager at Parkinson's UK Scotland added: “Parkinson's UK Scotland welcomes the approval of opicapone for use in NHS Scotland. It means that people with Parkinson's who experience debilitating symptoms will have another treatment option. ‘Wearing off’ happens when a person's Parkinson's medication stops working before the next dose is due. It can happen suddenly, leaving people unable to move or speak. Some people have anxiety or uncontrolled movements.

"Wearing off has a huge impact on people with Parkinson's and family members or friends who support them - some people feel unable to leave their homes. Wearing off can be hard to treat and having a different option to consider means that more people with Parkinson's in Scotland can gain greater control of their symptoms - and their lives."

Opicapone is a once-a-day oral COMT (Catechol-O-methyltransferase) inhibitor which can block COMT, an enzyme that breaks down levodopa, which is the gold standard therapy for controlling motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by helping to protect levodopa against this enzyme by reducing its breakdown in the bloodstream, making more levodopa available to reach the brain.