A new disease awareness campaign shines a light on the hallucinations and delusions that can affect half of people who have Parkinson’s disease.
Sponsored by Acadia Pharmaceuticals, a TV ad and accompanying website focus on the common but lesser-known non-motor side effects of seeing and hearing things that aren’t real. Acadia is the only drugmaker with an approved treatment for the psychosis that can accompany Parkinson’s.
The darkly lit ad opens with a man talking about the “secret visitors” who appear to him and tell him stories that are “only in my mind.” The tone changes when a woman touches his shoulder and walks with him to a brightly lit window where visitors, including a young boy, are approaching. A narrator notes that more than 50% of Parkinson’s patients will experience hallucinations or delusions that can worsen over time and encourages caregivers to seek help. The man in the ad greets the young boy and ends the ad with: “My visitors should be the ones I want to see.”
Acadia’s antipsychotic drug Nuplazid was approved last year after netting an FDA breakthrough designation to treat hallucinations and delusions in Parkinson’s patients. Analysts expect the drug to reach $1 billion in sales by 2021. However, according to a study earlier this year, Nuplazid’s cost of about $24,000 per year, along with it limited specialty pharmacy availability, could limit its use in clinical practice.
Acadia is also studying the drug for use in people with Alzheimer’s disease.