Culinary icon Zarela Martinez and Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ACOR) have partnered to launch “A Taste for Life with Zarela” to celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The video series showcases Zarela’s inspirational “building blocks” for living well with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and for healthy and delicious eating. The site can be reached at www.ATasteForLifeWithZarela.com.
Zarela, a native of Mexico, opened her eponymous restaurant in 1987, featuring traditional regional Mexican cuisine -- the first of its kind in Manhattan. Since then, she’s authored three cookbooks and hosted her own show on PBS, elevating her to celebrity status. In 2013 she was named to the James Beard “Who’s Who in Food and Wine.” The same year, Radcliffe/Harvard’s Schlesinger Library acquired her personal and professional papers.
“A Taste for Life with Zarela” features videos of Zarela preparing some of her most versatile recipes while also sharing her recipe for living well with Parkinson’s. She was formally diagnosed in 2004, after decades of living with symptoms of the disease. Consistent with her fiery spirit, she tackled this new challenge head-on. In addition to her medications, she stayed socially active and used nutrition and exercise to help control her Parkinson’s symptoms. Zarela also began taking INBRIJA® (levodopa inhalation powder) shortly after it was launched in 2019, to help manage her OFF periods.
INBRIJA is the first and only inhaled levodopa. It is a prescription medicine used for the return of Parkinson’s symptoms (known as OFF episodes) in adults treated with carbidopa/levodopa medicine. INBRIJA does not replace regular carbidopa/levodopa medicine. OFF periods are characterized by the return of Parkinson’s symptoms despite underlying baseline therapy.
“It’s easy for people with Parkinson’s to become isolated – you just don’t feel like yourself anymore. However, it’s crucial that you find something you are passionate about – something you cannot live without doing – and for me that is cooking…and socializing and exercise and creativity! In this video series, I want to share my ‘building blocks’ for living a vibrant life with Parkinson’s – as well as my ‘building blocks’ for healthy, delicious meals,” Zarela says, “As my PD progressed, my medication stopped working as well in between scheduled doses, and my symptoms would come back. I talked to my doctor, and he prescribed INBRIJA. And for me, INBRIJA is an important part of how I manage my Parkinson’s.”
About Zarela Martinez
Zarela grew up on a cattle ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. After she married and settled in El Paso, Texas, she started her own catering business. She was later discovered by Chef Paul Prudhomme, who recognized Zarela’s talent and invited her to cook alongside him at an event at Tavern on the Green in New York City. Shortly after, she moved to New York and opened her own restaurant.
Zarela quickly became renowned for her sophisticated Mexican cuisine. Three cookbooks and a PBS series, “Zarela! La Cucina Veracruzana” followed. In 2004 she was labeled one of seven individuals that redefined the American culinary landscape in the last half of the twentieth century by the U.S. State Department.
Today, she co-hosts a podcast, “Cooking in Mexican from A to Z,” on the Heritage Radio Network. Along with her son, Chef Aarón Sánchez, she explores the food, flavors, and history of Mexico through lively conversations with their guests.
About Parkinson’s Disease and OFF Periods
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the gradual loss of certain neurons in the brain. These neurons are responsible for producing dopamine and that loss causes a range of symptoms including impaired movement, muscle stiffness and tremors. As Parkinson’s progresses, people are likely to experience OFF periods, which are characterized by the return of Parkinson’s symptoms, which can occur despite underlying baseline therapy. Approximately one million people in the U.S. and 1.2 million Europeans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s; it is estimated that approximately 40 percent of people with Parkinson’s in the U.S. experience OFF periods. Patients and care partners should remember to talk with their healthcare provider about diet and exercise.
About INBRIJA (levodopa inhalation powder)
INBRIJA is the first and only inhaled levodopa. It is a prescription medicine used for the return of Parkinson’s symptoms (known as OFF episodes) in adults treated with carbidopa/levodopa medicine. INBRIJA does not replace regular carbidopa/levodopa medicine. INBRIJA is not to be used by patients who take or have taken a nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine within the last two weeks. INBRIJA utilizes Acorda’s innovative ARCUS® platform for inhaled therapeutics.
Additional Important Safety Information (U.S.)
Before using INBRIJA, patients should tell their healthcare provider about all their medical conditions, including:
- asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or any chronic lung disease
- daytime sleepiness, sleep disorders, sleepiness/drowsiness without warning or us of medicine that increases sleepiness including antidepressants or antipsychotics
- dizziness, nausea, sweating, or fainting when standing up
- abnormal movement (dyskinesia)
- mental health problem such as hallucinations or psychosis
- uncontrollable urges like gambling, sexual urges, spending money, or binge eating
- pregnancy or plans to become pregnant. It is not known if INBRIJA will harm an unborn baby.
- breastfeeding or plans to breastfeed. Levodopa (the medicine in INBRIJA) can pass into breastmilk and it is unknown if it can harm the baby.
Patients should tell their healthcare provider if they take:
- MAO-B inhibitors
- dopamine D2 receptor antagonists (including phenothiazines, butyrophenones, risperidone, metoclopramide)
- iron salts or multivitamins that contain iron salts
Patients are not to drive, operate machinery, or do other activities until they know how INBRIJA affects them. Sleepiness and falling asleep suddenly can happen as late as a year after treatment is started.
Patients should tell their healthcare provider if they experience the following side effects:
- falling asleep during normal daily activities with or without warning. If patients become drowsy, they should not drive or do activities where they need to be alert. Chances of falling asleep during normal activities increases if patients take medicine that cause sleepiness.
- withdrawal-emergent hyperpyrexia and confusion (fever, stiff muscles, or changes in breathing and heartbeat) if patients suddenly stop using INBRIJA or carbidopa/levodopa medicines, or suddenly lower their dose of carbidopa/levodopa.
- low blood pressure when standing up (that may be with dizziness, fainting, nausea, and sweating). Patients should get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
- hallucinations and other psychosis – INBRIJA may cause or worsen seeing/hearing/believing things that are not real; confusion, disorientation, or disorganized thinking; trouble sleeping; dreaming a lot; being overly suspicious or feeling people want to harm them; acting aggressive, and feeling agitated/restless.
- unusual uncontrollable urges such as gambling, binge eating, shopping, and sexual urges has occurred in some people using medicine like INBRIJA.
- uncontrolled, sudden body movements (dyskinesia) may be caused or worsened by INBRIJA. INBRIJA may need to be stopped or other Parkinson’s medicines may need to be changed.
- bronchospasm – people with asthma, COPD, or other lung diseases may wheeze or have difficulty breathing after inhaling INBRIJA. If patients have these symptoms, they should stop taking INBRIJA and seek immediate medical attention.
- increased eye pressure in patients with glaucoma. Healthcare providers should monitor this.
- changes in certain lab values including liver tests.
The most common side effects of INBRIJA include cough, upper respiratory tract infection, nausea, and change in the color of saliva or spit.
No more than 1 dose (2 capsules) should be inhaled for any OFF period. No more than 5 doses (10 capsules) of INBRIJA should be used in a day.
Please see the accompanying Full Prescribing Information available at www.INBRIJA.com/prescribing-information.PDF.
About Acorda Therapeutics
Acorda Therapeutics develops therapies to restore function and improve the lives of people with neurological disorders. INBRIJA is approved for intermittent treatment of OFF episodes in adults with Parkinson’s disease treated with carbidopa/levodopa. INBRIJA is not to be used by patients who take or have taken a nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine within the last two weeks. INBRIJA utilizes Acorda’s innovative ARCUS® pulmonary delivery system, a technology platform designed to deliver medication through inhalation. Acorda also markets the branded AMPYRA® (dalfampridine) Extended Release Tablets, 10 mg.
This press release includes forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, regarding management's expectations, beliefs, goals, plans or prospects should be considered forward-looking. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including: we may not be able to successfully market AMPYRA, INBRIJA or any other products under development; the COVID-19 pandemic, including related quarantines and travel restrictions, and the potential for the illness to affect our employees or consultants or those that work for other companies we rely upon, could have a material adverse effect on our business operations or product sales; our ability to raise additional funds to finance our operations, repay outstanding indebtedness or satisfy other obligations, and our ability to control our costs or reduce planned expenditures; risks associated with the trading of our common stock and our reverse stock split; risks related to our workforce, including our ability to realize the expected benefits of our corporate restructuring; risks associated with complex, regulated manufacturing processes for pharmaceuticals, which could affect whether we have sufficient commercial supply of INBRIJA to meet market demand; our reliance on third-party manufacturers for the production of commercial supplies of AMPYRA and INBRIJA; third party payers (including governmental agencies) may not reimburse for the use of INBRIJA or our other products at acceptable rates or at all and may impose restrictive prior authorization requirements that limit or block prescriptions; competition for INBRIJA, AMPYRA and other products we may develop and market in the future, including increasing competition and accompanying loss of revenues in the U.S. from generic versions of AMPYRA (dalfampridine) following our loss of patent exclusivity; the ability to realize the benefits anticipated from acquisitions, among other reasons because acquired development programs are generally subject to all the risks inherent in the drug development process and our knowledge of the risks specifically relevant to acquired programs generally improves over time; the risk of unfavorable results from future studies of INBRIJA (levodopa inhalation powder) or from our other research and development programs, or any other acquired or in-licensed programs; the occurrence of adverse safety events with our products; the outcome (by judgment or settlement) and costs of legal, administrative or regulatory proceedings, investigations or inspections, including, without limitation, collective, representative or class action litigation; failure to protect our intellectual property, to defend against the intellectual property claims of others or to obtain third party intellectual property licenses needed for the commercialization of our products; and failure to comply with regulatory requirements could result in adverse action by regulatory agencies.
These and other risks are described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We may not actually achieve the goals or plans described in our forward-looking statements, and investors should not place undue reliance on these statements. Forward-looking statements made in this press release are made only as of the date hereof, and we disclaim any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this press release.