(BPT) - While Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions second only to Alzheimer’s, one might assume that the disease is well understood. Many people recognize the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, like tremors at rest, loss of balance and difficulty moving, but there is a lesser-known and often less talked about non-motor aspect of the disease.
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. In an effort to educate and raise awareness of PD not only this month, but all year, there is a related but manageable condition called neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH), that needs to be talked about. It is a condition where symptoms appear in approximately 20% of patients with PD.
Get to Know nOH
When a person without nOH stands up, gravity naturally pulls the blood to the lower part of the body, lowering blood pressure. When this happens, the nervous system typically releases a chemical called norepinephrine, which signals the blood vessels to tighten, or constrict. This raises blood pressure and makes it easier for the body to pump blood back up to the heart and brain.
For a person living with nOH, the body does not release enough norepinephrine upon standing. As a result, blood vessels are unable to tighten as they should, preventing the blood from being pumped back up to the head and upper torso.
What Symptoms Should One Look For?
Symptoms that nOH patients experience can be nonspecific. Some of these symptoms include:
It’s important to take steps to capture these symptoms when you feel them. What were you doing? Were you standing or sitting? What time of day was it? A symptoms tracker may be helpful and serve as a tool to use when talking with your doctor.
How is nOH Treated?
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that may help ease the symptoms of nOH, like drinking two glasses of water, increasing your salt intake or wearing abdominal binders. In addition to lifestyle changes, there is also a treatment option available.
NORTHERA® (droxidopa) is a prescription medication that is indicated for the treatment of orthostatic dizziness, lightheadedness and the feeling of blacking out. Please review the full Use for NORTHERA and Important Safety Information below, including a boxed warning for Supine Hypertension. While NORTHERA might not be right for everyone, patients with a neurodegenerative condition can help their doctor determine if it could be the right fit for them by answering a quick online survey at NORTHERA.com and bringing their results to their physician.
This Parkinson’s Awareness Month, whether you’re living with PD or serve as a care partner for someone who is, be on the lookout for any symptoms that may be signs of nOH and speak to your doctor about the right treatment plan for you.
USE OF NORTHERA (droxidopa) CAPSULES (100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg)
NORTHERA is a prescription medication used to reduce dizziness, lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adults who experience a significant drop in blood pressure when changing positions or standing (called symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH)) and who have one of the following:
Effectiveness beyond 2 weeks of treatment has not been established, and your doctor will decide if you should continue taking NORTHERA.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
©2021 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. NORTHERA is a registered trademark of Lundbeck NA Ltd. DRX-B-100432
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