Seeing the Whole Picture
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is what’s known as a progressive neurodegenerative disease. This not only means it gets increasingly worse over time, but its “progressive” nature also complicates how patients are treated.
That’s because a person in the earlier stages of Parkinson’s requires markedly different care than someone in the advanced stages. And while physicians have tools to assist identifying disease severity and progression, these tools do not adequately identify when a patient passes from one stage to the next – which can result in less than optimal treatment protocols for those affected by PD.
“With Parkinson’s, people go from being essentially healthy people who have a little bit of tremor or stiffness, to over the course of the disease potentially experiencing symptoms such as cognitive impairment, psychosis and even becoming completely bedridden – and yet we try and treat that as one disease,” says Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., senior vice president & chief research and clinical officer, Parkinson’s Foundation. “This is why a better staging model is critical.”
To better assess the stages of a patient’s disease progression, prominent disease specialists and AbbVie HEOR and medical affairs partnered with the Parkinson’s Foundation (PF) and Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) to create a staging model that comprehensively evaluates both physiological and psychological symptoms of Parkinson’s. The collaboration resulted in a new point-of-care screening tool intended to move patient care from “measurement to management.”
The tool, which will be presented at the 21st International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders (June 3-4, 2017), is set to pilot at eight Parkinson’s Foundation Centers of Excellence across the United States and Europe this year.
Standardizing Care to Improve Outcomes
This tool has been designed for every clinician – from a general practitioner to the world’s foremost movement disorder specialist – to be able to use a questionnaire to place patients into three categories: 1) those for whom oral treatments are controlling PD symptoms properly, 2) those who may need optimizing of oral medications to control symptoms, and 3) those who are no longer responding to these therapies and may benefit from advanced PD treatments.
“Being able to identify the points where people transition from one treatment paradigm to another is very important,” Schmidt says. “Especially as we think about a future where, hopefully, we will see more and better treatment therapies for Parkinson’s coming down the pipe.”
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