When we take oral medications such as pills, acids in our stomach break it down into tiny particles that are then absorbed into our blood stream through the walls of our small intestines. This process is called digestion. Digestion is an ‘automatic’ body function controlled by our autonomic nervous system – the system responsible for all automatic body function, including our heart beat, breathing, sweating, digestion, and controlling urination and bowel movement.
In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease not only does motorfunction slow down but the autonomic nervous system also becomes compromised. This means that the body is no longer able to digest properly or control bowel movements. A spontaneous emptying of the stomach that is not only unpredictable but also affects the timing of orally administered medications. As a result, orally ingested drugs do not get digested properly and or absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, they are passed quickly through the digestive system and out of the body in a bowel movement.
Duopa is a prescription medication and delivery system used for treating the motor fluctuations and autonomic system dysfunctions caused by advanced Parkinson’s disease. It contains the same active ingredients as oral medications, namely cardiopa and levodopa. However, unlike orally administered drugs, Duopa Therapy is a proess that delivers the medication directly into the small intestine through an endoscopically inserted tube. It is a 16 hour, daily, therapy process that ensures the medication is absorbed directly into the small intestine and not passed out of the body through bowel movements.
At Motion Disorder Parkinson’s Disease Specialists, we know that caring for an individual with advanced Parkinson’s can be challenging, and our team of trusted, Movement Disorder specialists can help. We will take the time to get to know you and your needs in order to create a care and management solution that best fits your unique circumstances.