Although this drug might work for some, I found the inhaler powder too course and caused me to cough endlessly. Also, it was supposed to provide a better response than Sinemet did; however, my experience was that it gave me much less of an 'on' than Sinemet. Finally, it's high cost made it impossible for me to continue treatment.
(Note: The cost shown is for a Medicare patient during the initial Part D coverage period without any additional assistance)
Inbrija is Carbidopa/Levodopa in a powder form supplied as an inhaler. It is inhaled via the lungs and bypasses the gut. Therefore, according to the documentation, it should cause the patient to 'kick on' in as little as 10 minutes!! However, it is really meant as an 'add-on' therapy to be used for off-times - not as a replacement for regular Sinemet. It can be used up to 5 times per day. The company also notes that it should provide up to an hour or more on 'on' time when used properly.
I had followed this drug during it's development through clinical trials - I even got accepted to one of the trials but was unable to contact anyone about how to proceed! The reason I followed this drug so closely was that, because it was an inhaler, it bypasses the 'gut' and goes directly into the blood stream... For those of us with 'off times' and a slowed stomach/gut, this would be a great addition to have in our back pocket! Needless to say, as soon as the product became available, I got a prescription to try Inbrija!
I found it was fairly easy to use, and very portable. The company provides a nice 'pre-therapy' kit with documentation on the med, an animated video showing how to use the inhaler (via a mini LCD screen supplied right in the kit!) and a nice carrying case for your inhaler and 1-2 doses of Inbrija.
Unfortunately, at least for me, it has not lived up to it's expectation. There are a number of reasons for this:
The drug is supplied in capsules as a powder - which are put into the inhaler mechanism and inhaled. You need to use two of these capsules per dose. I found that the powder is just too 'course' - which for me meant I coughed like mad after inhaling one of the capsules! Sometimes I would simply cough out the dose (which would appear as a cloud of white powder in front of me) - which was a waste since it then didn't do anything. Plus it seemed I coughed and coughed the remainder of the day. I've seen from others that they too have the same issue. In my opinion, the powder in the capsules needs to be much finer than it is today so your lungs don't rebel!
My body's response to the drug was not as favorable as described in the literature. There were times when, even if I got all the drug to stay in my lungs (not an easy chore), it just would not cause me to 'kick on'... And even when I did, I never seemed to get the full response as I did when using the pill form - in other words, I would not get that full, relaxing 'ahhhh' feeling one gets when the pills kick on. This may have been due to me, or my body's response or metabolism - so others could be different. This is just what I experienced.
The cost for this drug is high - especially for those under Medicare or other government system. I've heard that the base cost - without insurance - is roughly $32 per dose; so if you took three doses per day @ $32 each, that would be about $2,800 per month! Even with my plan I was looking at over $900 per month! For me, that was simply too much for a drug that causes me to cough all day and doesn't provide a full 'on' effect!
(Note: Those under private insurance, or those who qualify for assistance - via the company's discount card or other programs - may be able to get the drug at a much less cost; maybe as little as $30 monthly!)
So in conclusion, for me the drug had too many cons to it - high cost, less effect, and that infernal cough! Of course every patient is different - if you did wish to try it for yourself, you might want to check with your insurance company before asking your provider for the medication, in order to check what it will cost you. Note that in some cases your insurance won't have Inbrija in their formulary, so in those cases you'll have to request an exception. Also, if you qualify, you may be able to get a discount card available from the manufacturer that would substantially reduce the cost to you.