Apokyn is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to treat intermittent “off” episodes in people with advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Apokyn is also referred to by its drug name, Apomorphine. Your doctor may prescribe an antiemetic (drug that prevents nausea and vomiting) such as trimethobenzamide to take along with Apokyn.
Apokyn is not suitable for use in people who have previously shown hypersensitivity to apomorphine, sulfa drugs, or sulfites. Apokyn must be used with caution in people with asthma, schizophrenia, low blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, electrolyte imbalance, or a history of alcohol addiction, stroke, heart attack, or a cardiac condition called long QT syndrome. Apokyn may not be appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Apokyn is a member of a class of drugs called dopamine agonists. Apokyn is believed to work by imitating the action of dopamine in the brain.
Some medications are available both as generic and branded products. Although generic and branded formulations of a drug contain the same active ingredients at the same concentrations, your body may react differently to different formulations. Check with your doctor before switching between drug brands or between generic and branded drugs.
How do I take it?
Your doctor may ask you to begin taking an antiemetic such as trimethobenzamide a few days before you begin using Apokyn to prevent nausea. You should continue taking the antiemetic until your doctor tells you to discontinue it. Use only the antiemetic prescribed by your doctor. Do not use antiemetics with drug names that end in -setron, including ondansetron, granisetron, and alosetron, while using Apokyn. Drugs of this class can cause serious interactions with Apokyn.
Apokyn is administered via a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection in your stomach, upper arm, or upper leg areas. Apokyn is injected as needed, every two hours, if you begin having an “off” period. You will receive the first injection of Apokyn in your doctor’s office. Your doctor or nurse will train you or anyone else who will be administering injections on the proper injection technique. Make sure you understand the correct dosage in milliliters (mL) for Apokyn injections.
Do not administer Apokyn via an intravenous (into a vein) injection, as this can result in life-threatening side effects. Always inject Apokyn underneath healthy, normal skin. Never inject into skin that is scarred, bruised, or showing any sign of infection or rash. Keep a list of where you inject Apokyn each time, and do not inject it into the same spot twice in a row.
Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Apokyn. Alcohol can increase the intensity of some side effects.
Avoid driving or operating machinery after taking Apokyn.
If you go one week or more without using Apokyn, talk to your doctor about the dosage you should use before reinitiating therapy. You doctor may want to change your dosage.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Apokyn.
In three clinical studies, Apomorphine (Apokyn) proved to be very effective at ending hypomotor episodes and improving motor symptoms in people with advanced Parkinson’s Disease.
Apokyn causes severe nausea and vomiting unless it is taken with an antiemetic such as Trimethobenzamide.
Common side effects of Apokyn include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, weakness, headaches, yawning, pale or flushed skin, bone or joint pain, weight changes, decreased interest or ability in sex, difficulty achieving orgasm, dry mouth, or pain or difficulty during urination. Tell your doctor if these side effects become worse.
In a few people, Apokyn may contribute to causing cardiac problems including angina and heart attack. Rarely, dopamine agonists such as Apokyn may contribute to the development of serious lung or heart valve problems including pleural effusion, retroperitoneal fibrosis, or cardiac valvulopathy. These conditions may or may not resolve after you stop taking the drug.
Inform your doctor immediately if you experience a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat, rigid muscles, muscle cramps, fever, chest pain, agitation, hallucinations, slurred speech, or seizures while taking Apokyn.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.