The Parkinson's disease drug market is expected to reach a value of around $3.426 billion by the end of 2016, with the industry set to be driven by a number of key factors including an increasingly ageing population, an increased understanding of Parkinson's disease and technological advances in drug delivery.
Parkinson's disease is a disabling condition of the brain characterised by slowness of movement, shaking, stiffness, and in the later stages, loss of balance. Many of these symptoms are due to the loss of certain nerves in the brain, which results in the lack of a chemical called dopamine.
Parkinson's disease most often develops after age 50. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly, however sometimes Parkinson's disease occurs in younger adults.
In some cases, Parkinson's disease runs in families. When a young person is affected, it is usually because of a form of the disease that runs in families.
Current treatments for Parkinson's are designed to increase dopamine by using levodopa (Sinemet or Madopar), which is converted in the brain into dopamine, or drugs that mimic dopamine (dopamine agonists).
Although useful, these treatments do not slow the progression of the disease and can be associated with side effects e.g. after a while levodopa use can cause involuntary movements (dyskinesia), painful leg cramps (dystonia) and a shortened response to each dose (motor fluctuations).
Monoamine oxidase B (MAOB) inhibitors such as selegiline (Eldepryl or Selgene) boost the levels of dopamine by a different mechanism, which may reduce the risk of these complications and slow disease progression.
The leading dopamine agonists, pramipexole (Boehringer Ingelheim's Mirapex/Mirapexin/Sifrol/BI-Sifrol, generics; Mirapex ER/Mirapexin ER/Sifrol Retard/Mirapex LA) and ropinirole (GlaxoSmithKline's Requip, generics; GlaxoSmithKline/SkyePharma's Requip XL/LP/RP/Modutab/Prolib, generics), will continue to garner the most substantial sales among therapies used to treat Parkinson's disease.
By 2021, the generalisation of several key Parkinson's disease drugs will have created a fragmented market with no clear leader, as a large number of similarly priced drugs compete for the same patient share. Future therapies will need to clearly differentiate themselves from other therapies to gain a competitive edge in this mature market.
For more information on the Parkinson's disease drug market, see the latest research: Parkinson's Disease Drug Market
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