Ochsner First In LA, MS To Perform Breakthrough Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Health System is the first in Louisiana and Mississippi to perform breakthrough Parkinson’s disease treatment to improve motor function and overall disease management in advanced-staged patients. The Ochsner Neuroscience Institute’s Movement Disorders Program, led by neurologists Dr. David Houghton and Dr. Georgia Lea, has successfully used Duopa Therapy in four patients, dramatically controlling their trembling, moments of frozenness and balance impairment.    

         Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative, neurological disease affecting the body’s motor functions in almost 1 million people in the United States. A chronic condition with no cure that worsens as the disease progresses, patients in advanced stages frequently experience severe symptoms, such as trouble walking and speaking, which can also make a person feel “off” and not in control of their movements. These symptoms, called motor fluctuations, cause severe limitations in the ability to perform the most basic tasks, restricting a person’s quality of life.

         Duopa Therapy, a Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for advanced Parkinson’s disease, uses a small, external, portable infusion pump to directly deliver standard medications in gel form into the small intestine for 16 continuous hours through a surgically implanted tube. Compared to the more traditional method of oral medications, this delivery method is better absorbed to manage disease symptoms more effectively in certain patients. 

         “Duopa Therapy’s ability to provide more consistent medication levels is why this has been such a breakthrough,” said Dr. Houghton. “Parkinson’s is a life-altering condition because of how much it limits the patient’s ability to do tasks like driving, feeding themselves or getting dressed. As it progresses, patients begin to have longer periods throughout the day where their function is impaired. Patients in many cases need to take pills every hour or two throughout the day just help control symptoms, as these pills can have very inconsistent results. Duopa has replaced the need for these pills.”

         “We have had major successes using Duopa,” said Dr. Lea. “Patients who were essentially restricted to staying at home because of the severity of their symptoms and who have had to abandon work and hobbies, now have had their quality of life restored. They are better able to function without many of the limitations they had prior to the therapy.”

         Ochsner Health System has been named a national “Best Hospital” by U.S. News & World Report across six specialties, including neurology and neurosciences.

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