First Doctor in Wales to offer pioneering Parkinsons Disease Treatment at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB

Dr. James Bolt, a consultant specializing in movement disorders at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, has become the first doctor in Wales to offer Produodopa, a medication designed to help treat patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease characterized by a decline in dopamine levels. Dopamine, primarily produced in the brain, is crucial for movement, memory, mood, and control of various bodily functions like digestion. Patients with Parkinson’s disease experience reduced dopamine levels, leading to symptoms such as tremors, shuffling gait, limb stiffness, and a mask-like facial expression. These symptoms are often preceded by other issues like sleep disturbances and bowel problems.

Traditionally, Parkinson’s disease has been managed with oral dopamine. However, as the disease progresses and the body’s natural dopamine production decreases, higher doses of oral dopamine are required. These increased doses can cause side effects like dyskinesias (involuntary movements), which can be challenging for patients. Additionally, the slowed digestion associated with Parkinson’s can lead to erratic absorption of oral dopamine, causing inconsistent symptom control. Studies show that only about 10% of orally administered dopamine reaches the brain, and timely administration of the medication multiple times a day can be difficult.

Produodopa offers an alternative treatment for advanced Parkinson’s disease. It is administered via a needle under the skin using a special pump that delivers a small, consistent amount of medication hourly, ensuring a steady level of dopamine in the bloodstream throughout the day and night. The pump is user-friendly and easy to program.

Produodopa simplifies treatment for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, improving both motor symptoms (such as tremors, slowness, stiffness, and dyskinesias) and non-motor symptoms (including sleep, bowel function, and mood). Initial trials have shown it significantly enhances patients’ quality of life.

Dr. Bolt, based at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, has been treating Mr. Kelland, a 66-year-old patient who has experienced tremors and been on medication since he was 18. Since starting Produodopa treatment, Mr. Kelland has experienced less stiffness, more relaxed sleep, and a reduction in tremors.

Dr. Bolt stated: “We have known for a long time that oral medications for Parkinson’s disease gradually become less effective. While there are treatments delivered via wearable pumps, none have been licensed for continuous 24-hour use. Produodopa is a lightweight, wearable pump offering an additional option for suitable patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Global trial results have been promising. I am thrilled that we are the first health board in Wales to provide this therapy for Mr. Kelland and delighted with his response to the treatment.”

Mr. Kelland shared: “Since starting Produodopa, I sleep much better and have more energy. I feel more energetic overall and enjoy life more than I have in years. Not having to take medication five times a day is a huge relief. I used to take 30 tablets a day and inject myself with Dacepton (Apomorphine) up to three times a day. Now, I only take four tablets daily, none for Parkinson’s, and no longer need injections. Improved sleep has greatly enhanced my life. The pump is easy to use, and I am delighted with the positive changes it has brought to my life.”