Modern treatment for Parkinson's disease improves the well-being and the independence of people suffering from the disease



    Stalevo(*) now offers a long-awaited therapeutic option for people with
    Parkinson's disease experiencing end of dose "wearing-off"

    DORVAL, QC, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - People affected by Parkinson's
disease and their caregivers will be happy to learn that they can now have
better control over the disease. Stalevo(*)(now available in Canada), is
indicated to treat patients with idiopathic Parkinson disease experiencing the
signs and symptoms of end of dose "wearing-off" (meaning that the illness
reappears before patients have time to take another dose of medication).
Stalevo(*), an anti-parkinsonian dopaminergic agent, is a new treatment that
enhances the effects of levodopa, one of the three agents contained in the
medication.
    "Stalevo(*) is an important addition to our therapeutic armamentarium for
treating Parkinson's disease, says Dr. Anthony Lang, President of the Movement
Disorders Society who practices at Toronto Western Hospital. "Improving the
"wearing off" that is so common in this disorder will provide greater
independence for our patients and improve their and their caregiver's quality
of life. There are also studies ongoing exploring the potential for Stalevo(*)
to delay the development of motor complications most notably the abnormal
involuntary movements or dyskinesias that so commonly complicate levodopa
therapy."
    Stalevo(*), a combination of levodopa, carbidopa and entacapone, is
indicated in the treatment of adult patients suffering from idiopathic
Parkinson's disease to substitute for immediate-release levodopa-carbidopa and
entacapone, previously administered as individual products. Stalevo(*) is also
indicated to replace immediate-release levodopa-carbidopa therapy (without a
simultaneous dose of entacapone) when patients experience the signs and
symptoms of end of dose "wearing off" (only recommended when patients are
taking a total daily dose of levodopa of 600 mg or less and not experiencing
dyskinesias).(1)
    Stalevo(*) was developed to enhance the benefits of levodopa and provide
patients with improved symptom control for longer periods. In addition to the
convenience of administration and smaller pill size, the combination of
entacapone with levodopa/carbidopa in one pill ensures that entacapone is
administered with every levodopa dose, maximizing treatment benefit.
    Clinical trials show that the combination of levodopa/carbidopa and
entacapone is safe. During clinical trials, reported side effects were mild to
moderate and generally reversible. Most common side effects are uncontrolled
movements, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
    "Before being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, I was a person who
would live life at 100 miles per hour. Now I am constantly in slow motion,"
explains Carlos, 43, who was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. "I
have a tremor in my left arm and I have memory problems, so it makes it hard
for me to be around people. I become frustrated because I can't finish the
tasks that I start. Sometimes I feel like my life is spiralling out of
control. But I guess I'm fortunate since my disease has not progressed in the
past years. I know it affects people in different ways and in much worse
ways."

    About Stalevo(*)

    Stalevo(*) combines levodopa, an agent used to treat Parkinson's disease,
with carbidopa and an enzyme inhibitor called entacapone.
    By blocking an enzyme called COMT, entacapone extends the length of time
that levodopa remains in the bloodstream allowing for better control of
symptoms.
    Stalevo(*) (levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone) is available in doses of
50/12.5/200 mg, 100/25/200 mg and 150/37.5/200 mg.(2).

    Pathology of Parkinson's disease

    Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative condition. It usually affects
people 50 years of age and older. Sometimes the disease is diagnosed in people
under the age of 40 (less than 10 % of people newly diagnosed each year). The
most frequent symptoms are shaking, stiffness of limbs and muscles, and loss
of balance.
    The disease progresses at a rate that varies for each individual and the
dosage of medication is adapted to take into account the evolution of
symptoms. Over time, non-motor symptoms may appear, such as difficulty in
speaking and writing, sleep disturbances, depression, and cognitive changes.

    There is support: Parkinson Society Canada

    For over 40 years, Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) has been the national
voice for people who are living with Parkinson's disease. Over 100,000
Canadians have Parkinson's disease. PSC funds promising scientific research
and provides support for people with Parkinson's, their families and
caregivers through educational programs with over 230 chapters and support
groups.. For more information, visit the website www.parkinson.ca or call
1-800-565-3000.
    This year marks the 19th SuperWalk for Parkinson's, which is taking place
in September throughout 80 communities across Canada. For more information,
visit www.superwalk.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    The foregoing press release contains forward-looking statements that can
be identified by forward-looking terminology, such as "may allow", "would also
be effective" or implied statements regarding potential future revenues from
Stalevo(*). Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and
other factors that may cause the actual results to be materially different
from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by
such statements. There can be no guarantee that Stalevo(*) will reach any
particular sales levels. In particular, management's expectation regarding the
commercial success of Stalevo(*) could be affected by, among other things,
uncertainties relating to product development, regulatory actions or delays or
government regulation generally, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or
other proprietary intellectual property protection and competition in general,
as well as factors discussed in the Form 20F filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties
materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results
may vary materially from those described herein as they are anticipated,
believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this
press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update
any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of
new information, future events or otherwise.

    About Novartis Canada

    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field,
is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative
products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Canada Inc. conducts hundreds of clinical trials across the country, seeking
new treatments for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, ophthalmology and
organ transplantation. In 2006, the Company invested over $69 million in
research and development. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs more
than 800 people in Canada and its headquarters are located in Dorval, Quebec.
In addition to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., the Novartis Group in
Canada consists of Novartis Animal Health Canada Inc., Novartis Consumer
Health Canada Inc., CIBA Vision Canada Inc. and Sandoz Canada Inc. For further
information about Novartis Canada, please consult www.novartis.ca.

    About Novartis

    Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs
of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a
diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines,
cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and
consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions
in these areas. In 2007, the Group's continuing operations (excluding
divestments in 2007) achieved net sales of USD 38.1 billion and net income of
USD 6.5 billion. Approximately USD 6.4 billion was invested in R&D activities
throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group
companies employ approximately 98,000 full-time associates and operate in over
140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit
http://www.novartis.com.

    Stalevo(*) is a registered trademark.

    
    ------------------------
    (1) Stalevo(*) Product Monograph dated February 15, 2008
    (2) Stalevo(*) Product Monograph, dated February 15, 2008
    (3) Parkinson Society Canada, What is Parkinson's?, site visited on
        September 4, 2008.
        http://www.parkinson.ca/site/c.kgLNIWODKpF/b.3536063/
    




For further information:

For further information: Chantale Carpenter, Hill & Knowlton Canada,
(416) 413-1218, chantale.carpenter@hillandknowlton.ca; Lise Huneault, Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., (514) 631-6775, ext.1203, Cell: (514) 966-7524,
lise.huneault@novartis.com


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