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Inbrija, FDA Approved for Parkinson’s OFF Episodes

Learn about Inbrija for Parkinson’s disease, including what it’s for, how it works and its side-effects.

Inbrija is a new, on-demand treatment for Parkinson’s disease. It's used specifically to treat patients who experience Parkinson's OFF episodes during a carbidopa/levodopa regimen. After two decades of research and development by the company, Acorda Therapeutics, the drug was approved by the FDA in December 2018 following a series of successful clinical trials. This new drug launch marks a breakthrough in Parkinson's research, but what exactly is Inbrija and what does it do? Find out here.

What Does Inbrija Do?

Inbrija (levodopa inhalation powder) is prescribed to treat OFF periods in Parkinson’s disease patients. It administers levodopa to the bloodstream via the lungs through an inhaler. Because the medication does not depend on absorption in the digestive tracts, patients receive a higher dose of levodopa than traditional oral medicine can provide, meaning their symptoms are better controlled.

OFF episodes are thought to result from low levels of dopamine between doses of carbidopa/levodopa. They can be unpredictable and appear more frequently over time. While levodopa is successful at controlling symptoms for most patients, the absorption of oral medication can be variable, and it becomes less effective as Parkinson's disease progresses. This is why the majority of PD patients experience OFF episodes marked by a return in parkinsonian symptoms.

The new FDA approved Inbrija treatment is a breakthrough in Parkinson's research and is expected to improve the lives of many people living with PD.

How Do You Take Inbrija?

You can administer Inbrija yourself through oral inhalation. If you are prescribed Inbrija, you will receive an inhaler and Inbrija capsules. The inhaler is breath-activated, so you do not need to press or control it. It will also make a whirring sound so that you know it is working. Inbrija capsules must be inhaled and not swallowed. You can use the inhaler up to five times a day, depending on your doctor’s instructions.

What are the Side Effects of Inbrija for Parkinson’s?

According to the results of various clinical trials, the most common side-effects of Inbrija are:

  • Cough
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Nausea
  • Discolored sputum (brown, green or yellow phlegm)

Less common side-effects include:

  • Daytime sleepiness or falling asleep during normal activities
  • Confusion
  • Withdrawal-emergent hyperpyrexia (fever of over 106.7°F)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Dyskinesia (sudden, involuntary movement)
  • Bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways)

If you experience any of these side effects while taking Inbrija, you should consult your doctor immediately.

If you have asthma, COPD or chronic lung disease, your doctor may advise against taking this medication. Inbrija is also unsuitable for patients taking nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitors – such as certain antidepressants or anxiolytics. Similarly, patients taking MAO-B inhibitors for PD are not advised to take this medication.

If you’re in any doubt as to whether Inbrija is the right treatment for you, talk to your doctor. You can find more information on the Inbrija website, where you can register for updates and access patient resources.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2020, February 10). Inbrija, FDA Approved for Parkinson’s OFF Episodes, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parkinsons-disease/treatment/inbrija-fda-approved-for-parkinsons-off-episodes

Last Updated: February 18, 2020

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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