EU market for Parkinson's treatments expands as it shifts away from carbidopa/levodopa, says F&S


Sales of drugs for Parkinson\'s disease reached more than US$1bn in the European Union (EU) in 2008

Sales of drugs for Parkinson\'s disease reached more than US$1bn in the European Union (EU) in 2008, including carbidopa/levodopa, dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors and anticholinergics used for relieving disease symptoms, reports Frost & Sullivan.

In its report, European Markets for Parkinson\'s Disease Therapeutics, F&S finds that the market earned revenues of more than US$1.28bn in 2008 and estimates that this will increase to US$2.28bn in 2015.

F&S also finds that the market is experiencing a shift away from the use of carbidopa/levodopa.

"Although prescriptions for Sinemet and Sinemet controlled release (CR) continue to be written, dopamine agonists prescriptions are increasing as well," says Frost & Sullivan programme manager Paljit Sohal. "Other drugs account for a relatively small portion of the total prescriptions, while some, such as the catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors are directly linked with Sinemet prescriptions."

The introduction of Mirapex and Requip has been largely responsible for driving the market, spurred by doctors recommending their use in early-stage Parkinson\'s disease and calling for a delay in the use of carbidopa/levodopa due to concerns over the development of clinically relevant dyskinesias.

However, there are considerable chances for doctors to misdiagnose Parkinson\'s disease. The number of cases that go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed each year range from 20-40% of the total cases. In most the disease is not diagnosed until 80% of the dopamine-producing neurotransmitters are depleted. Earlier diagnosis and treatment has the potential greatly to improve prognosis.

"An estimated one million patients are afflicted with the disease and as many as 4,00,000 are improperly diagnosed or under-diagnosed," says Sohal. "Recognising the early signs of the disease and making a referral to a neurologist represent the potential for the disease to go undiagnosed."

Biomarkers and imaging techniques are likely to improve the diagnosis of the condition at a much earlier stage and hence, their development should be supported, says F&S. High-risk individuals must be identified prior to clinical onset of the disease and disease progression plus response to various therapies should be monitored.

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"Market participants should collaborate with neurologists and doctors to improve the rate and process of diagnosis," says Sohal. "This will expand the target population and thereby, market revenues."