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Good news for Parkinson's sufferers

31st May 2006

The first licensed drug for the treatment of mild to moderately severe forms of dementia associated with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) is now available in the UK.

Rivastigmine, which is already licensed for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, will be a great boost to the estimated 40 per cent of Parkinson's patients who suffer some form of dementia.

Sufferers can exhibit a wide range of symptoms including hallucinations, depression, anxiety and apathy.

Dr Jane Byrne, senior lecturer at the University of Manchester, commented: "For many patients with Parkinson's disease, the dementia symptoms cause more distress for them and their carers than the physical symptoms.

"Now for the first time, there is a treatment proven to be clinically effective in some patients available for us to use."

Around 120,000 people are thought to have Parkinson's in the UK, with 48,000 of those believed to have dementia.

The drug, which will be known as Exelon, is being marketed by Novartis.