Treatments for Parkinson’s disease include medications, surgery, exercise and social support. In all cases, treatment is focused on symptoms. There are no treatments that can change the natural course of the disease. Medications are not started or administered until symptoms become bothersome. Most medical treatments focus on restoring the dopamine that is lost as a natural part of the disease. The main staple of therapy is carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet). Modern surgical treatment primarily consists of deep brain stimulation surgery, which acts like a pacemaker for the brain to restore a more normal pattern of brain activity. Exercise and social support are also key cornerstones of therapy and are often the primary treatments early in the disease.
A Answers (5)
Riverside Center for Neurosciences answeredAt present, there is no cure for PD. But medications or surgery can sometimes provide dramatic relief from the symptoms. Medications for PD fall into three categories.
The first category includes drugs that work directly or indirectly to increase the level of dopamine in the brain. The most common drugs for PD are dopamine precursors – substances such as levodopa that cross the blood-brain barrier and are then changed into dopamine. Other drugs mimic dopamine or prevent or slow its breakdown.
The second category of PD drugs affects other neurotransmitters in the body in order to ease some of the symptoms of the disease. For example, anticholinergic drugs interfere with production or uptake of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These drugs help to reduce tremors and muscle stiffness, which can result from having more acetylcholine than dopamine.
The third category of drugs prescribed for PD includes medications that help control the non-motor symptoms of the disease -- that is, the symptoms that don't affect movement. For example, people with PD-related depression may be prescribed antidepressants.
Treating PD with surgery was once a common practice. But after the discovery of levodopa, surgery was restricted to only a few cases. Studies in the past few decades have led to great improvements in surgical techniques, and surgery is again being used in people with advanced PD for whom drug therapy is no longer sufficient.
This answer was written based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
There is no cure for Parkinson's disease (PD), but the drug levodopa and other medications and treatments can control symptoms for many years. Because the clinical course of disease progression varies widely from patient to patient, identifying risk factors associated with early death can help patients and families plan, and might help doctors better target treatment strategies.
Discovery Health answered
The mainstay treatment for Parkinson's for the past three decades has been the drug levodopa.
Levodopa is converted into dopamine by nerve cells in the brain, which relieves some stiffness and tremors, which are the most troubling and common symptom of the disease.
Enzymes in the blood tend to break down levodopa before it can get to the brain, so it is typically combined with the drug carbidopa, which will keep levodopa intact until it reaches the brain. Levodopa is effective, but it can cause dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital answered
Once a person has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease doctors customize the numerous treatment options to meet his or her needs. People with Parkinson's disease often take a variety of medications at different doses and at different times of day to manage symptoms. None of the current therapeutic approaches reverse the progression of Parkinson's disease, but many good treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms.
Current medications to treat Parkinson's include:
- Levodopa, which is converted into dopamine in the brain, increasing the levels of this important neurotransmitter.
- Dopamine agonists, which stimulate the dopamine receptors in the brain.
- Anticholinergics, which decrease the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to improve the balance between acetylcholine and dopamine.
- MAO-B and COMT inhibitors, which help to make levodopa last longer in the brain; MAO-B inhibitors also directly increase dopamine levels.
In some people, medications do not adequately control the disabling symptoms of Parkinson's disease. These people may be eligible for a neurosurgical procedure called deep brain stimulation.