Introduction

Opicapone (trade name: Ongentys) has been approved in Germany since June 2016 for adults with advanced Parkinson's disease. The drug is an option for patients who have had treatment with levodopa and DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors but still keep having movement problems. Opicapone is combined with levodopa and DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease of the brain. Its causes are still not fully known. It typically develops after the age of 50. The disease can be very difficult to cope with because it can severely restrict your mobility. Common symptoms are slowed movement, muscle stiffness, and tremor at rest.

Together with a DOPA decarboxylase inhibitor, opicapone aims to improve the effectiveness of levodopa by slowing down its breakdown, which increases its concentration in the blood.

Application

Opicapone is taken once a day before bedtime in the form of a hard capsule (50 mg), one hour before or after taking levodopa.

Other treatments

For people with advanced Parkinson's disease who continue to have movement problems despite treatment with levodopa and DOPA decarboxylase inhibitors, the standard therapy is additional treatment with a non-ergot dopamine agonist, a monoamine oxidase (MAO) B inhibitor, or a catechol-O-methyl-transferase inhibitor (COMT inhibitor).

If all medical possibilities have been exhausted and the symptoms cannot be relieved, deep brain stimulation may be considered. In deep brain stimulation, electrodes are placed inside the affected areas of the brain in order to reduce the movement problems.

Assessment

In 2016, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of opicapone compared with the standard therapies for advanced Parkinson's disease.

However, the manufacturer did not provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of opicapone (Ongentys).