Dyskinesia—what you need to know
First, let’s define what dyskinesia is
Dyskinesias are involuntary, erratic, writhing movements of the face, arms, legs, or trunk. They are often fluid and dance-like, but they may also cause rapid jerking or slow and extended muscle spasms.
It’s different from OFF time. OFF time is when your PD medication, like levodopa, wears off throughout the day and tremors, slowness, and other Parkinson's disease symptoms return. They may include shakiness and jitters, slowed movement, and difficulty trying to stand.
It can be easy to mistake dyskinesia for other Parkinson's disease symptoms—such as tremors. What you may not know is that dyskinesia is a complication of long-term levodopa use to treat Parkinson's disease.
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Get worse when you're stressed or feeling excited
Accelerate your heart rate, breathing, and even your thinking
Happen more frequently as Parkinson's disease progresses
What causes dyskinesia?
To best understand dyskinesia, you first have to know about dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical that sends signals between the nerve cells of your brain. These signals help make voluntary movement happen.
As a person with Parkinson's disease, your brain produces less dopamine over time. This affects how you move and is why you experience tremors, slowness, and other Parkinson's disease symptoms.
To treat Parkinson's disease, many doctors use a medication called levodopa, which helps replenish the lack of dopamine in the brain. Increasing dopamine can help ease many of Parkinson's symptoms. This is called GOOD ON time, also known as ON time without troublesome dyskinesia.
Levodopa works well in treating Parkinson’s disease—often for several years. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, levodopa can wear off sooner between doses. At these times, symptoms worsen. This is called OFF time.
When first initiated on levodopa therapy, Parkinson's disease symptoms are well-controlled, and these benefits can last for several hours. This is when you experience GOOD ON time.
As dopamine-producing brain cells deplete over time, the ability to store dopamine diminishes and the effects of levodopa do not last as long. This is the point where you will experience OFF time (ie tremors, bradykinesia, etc.) resulting in the need to take more doses of levodopa throughout the day.
Eventually after a few years of treatment, the clinical response to levodopa changes and dyskinesias and motor fluctuations will become more prominent. When levodopa is too low, OFF symptoms may be seen and when levodopa is too high, dyskinesias may be seen.
Dyskinesia is common and can impact daily living for people living with Parkinson's disease
Studies showed 73% of people with Parkinson's said dyskinesia had a functional impact on them
Dyskinesia can also have a social and emotional impact
The same studies showed 72% of PWP said dyskinesia had a social impact on them
In a 2012 survey, 40 respondents identified their main concerns:
- Avoiding family events and gatherings
- Family tension
GOCOVRI® is designed to help! It's amantadine—but in a different formulation and specifically indicated to treat your dyskinesia
GOCOVRI® is different because you take it at night. GOCOVRI® releases slowly in your body, so that you reach high levels by the morning, before your first levodopa dose. Then, GOCOVRI® slowly releases to stay with you all day.
In studies, people who took GOCOVRI® noticed a reduction in dyskinesia and OFF time and spent more of their day having GOOD ON time.Learn more about GOCOVRI®