Shepparton man tells of groundbreaking Parkinson’s drug
By Nadia Surace
DIAGNOSED with Parkinson’s Disease 30 years ago, Shepparton resident, John McManus says he was granted a new lease on life when he was selected as one of 10 Australians to trial breakthrough treatment drug, Levodopa as Monohydrate with Carbidopa.
After its addition to the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) this month, Jim has urged everyone with Parkinson’s to give it a go.
As part of the scheme the drug will cost patients less than $35.00 per script, without the scheme it would cost around $7,000 a month.
At 70 years-of-age, Jim and his wife Shirley believe that since he began the trial three years ago he is impressively fitter.
“He was taking about 20 tablets every hour before that with two litres of water,” Shirley explained. Now John connects just one 100ml cassette to his Duodopa pump which is connected to his intestine. “Now I can do so much more, I go to bowls, mow the lawns, anything, I couldn’t do all of that before,” he said.
Jim also needed Shirley to assist him to walk and get dressed but now also rides his bike daily, venturing up to 10kms each day.
Associate Professor Victor Fung, a neurologist and specialist advisor to Parkinson’s Australia, welcomed the subsidy explaining: “A major problem that emerges over time in people with Parkinson’s disease is fluctuations in their ability to move due to unreliable absorption of oral medications. This leads to inconsistent delivery of the chemical dopamine, which controls movement to the brain.
The resulting unpredictable motor function is a cause of disability and loss of quality of life. Therefore there is a real need to offer people important treatment options like Duodopa.”
John will remain medicated at no cost as part of the trial for life.
More than 80,000 Australians have Parkinson’s Disease- a progressive neurological disorder.
It affects quality of life of patients, their families and carers.
The disease causes significant loss of limb and balance control and is most commonly diagnosed at 50-60 years of age.
Around 10-30 percent of those with Parkinson’s disease progress to the severe late stage of the disease