Under-the-skin infusions of low-dose apomorphine using a wearable device called h-Patch may help in avoiding off periods and improving motor function in Parkinson’s patients, Valeritas, the technology’s developer, reports.
A preclinical study found that apomorphine delivered using h-Patch could be detected in the blood within two hours, with a gradual decline upon completing the 24-hour subcutaneous infusion. Valeritas is planning to present these results at an upcoming medical conference.
Apomorphine is a derivative of morphine with effects similar to dopamine, the neurotransmitter released by specialized neurons that are progressively lost in Parkinson patients. In patients with advanced disease, apomorphine is the only approved option for the acute treatment of off episodes, or periods when the medication wears off and before a new dose can be taken. Off periods are characterized by the resurgence of motor and non-motor symptoms.
In prior clinical trials, single-dose, subcutaneous infusions of apomorphine have shown efficacy in suppressing off periods, reducing dyskinesia — involuntary, jerky movements — and improving motor scores of Parkinson’s patients. They also enabled significantly lesser use of levodopa, which has been associated with reduced effectiveness and with impulsive and compulsive behaviors when used for a number of years.
“This study highlights a new subcutaneous delivery of an old drug (apomorphine) which is commonly used in Parkinson’s,” said Santosh Kesari, chair and professor of Translational Neurosciences and Neurotherapeutics at the John Wayne Cancer Institute and Pacific Neuroscience Institute, both in California.
The h-Patch approach, Kesari added, “may offer a more consistent dose throughout the day” relative to oral dosing of apomorphine, and help improve functionality and quality of life. “Drug delivery for CNS disorders is still a significant barrier for optimizing new and old drugs,” he said.
Valeritas’ V-Go Wearable Insulin Delivery device for people with type 2 diabetes, which also uses the h-Patch technology, is marketed in the U.S. with the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Valeritas continues to demonstrate the versatility of, and opportunities for its h-Patch technology beyond insulin delivery,” said John Timberlake, the company’s president and CEO.
“The h-Patch is a demonstrated patient-friendly, cost-effective, and powerful delivery method for a variety of therapeutics which we believe is ideal for subcutaneous delivery of apomorphine,” he added.