Apokyn is a medication used for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Many symptoms of this disease may be caused by a deficiency of a certain chemical in the brain (dopamine). Apokyn works by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain. The prescription medication comes in the form of an injection that is given as needed to relieve the symptoms of "off" episodes (times of muscle stiffness and slow movements).
What Is Apokyn?
Apokyn® (apomorphine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to treat Parkinson's disease. Specifically, it is used "as needed" to help reverse the symptoms of "off" episodes (periods of muscle stiffness, slow movements, and trouble initiating movements). It is given as an injection just under the skin. Because the medication usually causes very severe nausea and vomiting, it is almost always given along with Tigan® (trimethobenzamide), a medication that helps to reduce these side effects.
The drug is manufactured by Vernalis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does It Work?
Apokyn is classified as a dopamine agonist. This means that it works much like dopamine, a naturally occurring brain chemical. Apokyn binds to dopamine receptors and stimulates them, much like natural dopamine. A dopamine deficiency (caused by a loss of dopamine-producing cells) in certain parts of the brain may be responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Because Apokyn acts much like natural dopamine, it can help relieve Parkinson's symptoms.
Despite the name of its active ingredient (apomorphine), Apokyn does not bind to morphine receptors and does not act like morphine.
Apokyn Web site. Available at: http://apokyn.com. Accessed April 17, 2008.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 15, 2011.
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