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FDA Approves Drug to Treat Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

Today, the FDA approved Nuplazid (pimavanserin) as the first drug to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis, which affects up to 40% of people with Parkinson’s.

NPF’s National Medical Director, Dr. Michael S. Okun, says “Today’s approval of Nuplazid represents a major paradigm shift in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease psychosis. Through its novel and selective mechanism of action, Nuplazid is a breakthrough treatment that works in a whole new way -- treating hallucinations and delusions without blocking dopamine receptors and, therefore, not impairing motor function in Parkinson’s psychosis patients.”

What Does this Mean for the Parkinson’s Community?

Before this approval, there was no FDA-approved drug for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s. Expert neurologists and psychiatrists had to choose between one of several atypical antipsychotic medications that were not proven effective in Parkinson’s or one that had been proven effective but had a fairly negative safety profile and required patients to take weekly blood tests to make sure that they were tolerating the drug well.

Additionally, many antipsychotic drugs work by blocking dopamine. Since Parkinson’s is a disease where dopamine producing neurons are lost, blocking dopamine is bad – we think that sometimes it is fatal. With FDA approval, we can hope that most patients with Parkinson’s will have access to a drug designed just for them and for Parkinson’s.

Like any powerful drug, there are risks associated with Nuplazid. We encourage you to be careful and talk with your neurologist about all options.

What Does this Mean for Parkinson’s Research?

We hope the approval of Nuplazid will inspire others to aggressively pursue novel therapies for Parkinson’s. We hope this approval will lead to better outcomes for people with Parkinson’s today and inspire the next breakthrough.

Questions about Parkinson’s disease psychosis? Learn more or call our free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).

Questions about Nuplazid? Visit or call 1-844-737-2223.

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