Parkinson's disease is defined as a disorder of the brain characterized by involuntary trembling of the limbs, muscle stiffness, bradykinesia (slowed ability to start and continue movement), poor balance, and other symptoms that increase in severity and frequency as the condition progresses. Current pharmacological therapy is focused on treating Parkinson's disease symptoms. Some treatments boost the level of dopamine in the brain, some prevent its breakdown, and others mimic its effects.
Levodopa is the most commonly used Parkinson's disease treatment. Brain cells turn levodopa into dopamine which then restores the physiological levels to control Parkinson's disease symptoms. However, over time, the effects of levodopa start to wane, leading to other problems, such as hypomobility episodes. A hypomobility episode refers to a period of time during which Parkinson's disease symptoms re-emerge despite taking Parkinson's disease medicines. Symptoms of a hypomobility episode may include muscle stiffness, slow movements and difficulty initiating movement.
The prevalence of hypomobility episodes is significant and increases with the length of time the patient is on levodopa therapy. Up to 50% of Parkinson's disease patients treated with levadopa for five years or more experience hypomobility episodes. This number rises to 70% for patients treated for nine years or more with levadopa therapy