It has been a long road
to get Northera (droxidopa) to its patients but the wait is over. Today, Lundbeck announced Northera capsules are now available for healthcare providers to prescribe in the United States.
Northera is a norepinephrine prodrug that was recently approved for the treatment of orthostatic dizziness, lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adult patients with symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) caused by primary autonomic failure (Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, and pure autonomic failure), dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, and non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy.
In a press release
, Staffan Schüberg, president of Lundbeck in the U.S. said “For people living with symptomatic NOH, the availability of Northera may provide a new treatment option to discuss with their healthcare provider,” adding “As a company with a long-standing and proven track record of working closely with smaller patient populations facing considerable unmet medical needs, we are passionate about delivering this needed therapy to patients and their families.”
Judy Biedenharn, president of the Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) Coalition added, “Our entire community of patients rallied to help ensure Northera gained FDA approval, and we’re delighted that it’s now available throughout the U.S.”
Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension and Northera
Orthostatic hypotension is a fairly common condition in the elderly and can be due to cardiovascular, endocrine, and/or neurological impairments. Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden and prolonged drop in blood pressure when a person stands, leading to symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, fatique, and/or poor concentration.
Symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension is a subtype of orthostatic hypotension that occurs from a diminished norepinephrine response to standing. Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension can occur in patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, pure autonomic failure, non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy and dopamine beta hydroxylase deficiency. 
Northera (droxidopa) is a synthetic dopamine and norepinephrine precursor.
Unlike L-dopa, the natural precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine, droxidopa does not require dopamine beta hydroxlase to form norepinephrine, thereby allowing the drug to be converted to norepinephrine faster in patients with their catecholamine systems compromised.
How to Obtain Northera
Northera is now available across the United States through a specialty pharmacy that is experienced in supporting people with rare disorders. At press time, details of the specialty pharmacy were unavailable. In addition, the manufacturers of Northera, Lundbeck has implemented comprehensive patient support programs
to help ensure that all eligible patients, especially those with demonstrated economic need, have access to the drug.
For more information, visit www.northera.com
Goldstein DS, Sharabi Y. Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension: a pathophysiological approach. Circulation. 2009;119:139-146.
Kaufmann H. L-dihydroxyphenylserine (Droxidopa): a new therapy for neurogenic orthostatic hypotension: the US experience. Clin Auton Res. 2008 Mar;18 Suppl 1:19-24