WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE?

There are currently no available treatments to slow the progression of Parkinson’s over time, but available drugs and therapies can effectively treat symptoms often for years. Because Parkinson’s disease is highly variable, what works for one patient may not work for another. As with any course of treatment or medication, it is critical to work closely with your physician to determine the optimal treatments for you.*

Many different treatment approaches are used for Parkinson’s disease:

Dopaminergic Strategies
Since many symptoms of Parkinson’s are due to a lack of dopamine in the brain, dopaminergic strategies act to temporarily increase dopamine in the brain through different approaches. The increase in dopamine provided by these approaches can result in improved motor function control.

  • Levodopa – This drug is converted into dopamine resulting in increased dopamine levels. Levodopa is frequently combined with carbidopa to help prevent the breakdown of levodopa before reaching the brain.
  • Dopamine agonists – These drugs mimic the function of dopamine in the brain.
  • MAO-B inhibitors – These drugs inhibit a process that breaks down levodopa, thus extending its action.
  • COMT inhibitors – These drugs are used in combination with levodopa to allow more levodopa to enter the brain.

Anticholinergics
These drugs block a different neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) that also regulates movement, which could ease motor symptoms.

Other symptomatic therapies
You may need other medications for conditions that could be related to your Parkinson’s, such as: depression, constipation, orthostatic hypotension and dyskinesia.

Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation is another therapy to treat Parkinson’s motor symptoms. A thin electrode is implanted into the brain and small electrical pulses stimulate a small brain region and block the signals that cause motor difficulties.

Exercise
While no studies have proven the effect of exercise on slowing Parkinson’s progression, strength and balance from regular exercise can help overall health. You should talk to your physician about a safe exercise program and about how allied care professionals such as physical, occupational and speech therapists can help manage your symptoms.

Learn about living with Parkinson’s disease

  • This website does not offer medical advice or recommendations and individuals should not rely on the information posted on this website as a substitute for consultations with qualified health care professionals who are familiar with individual medical conditions and needs. Partners in Parkinson's strongly recommends that care and treatment decisions related to Parkinson's disease and any other medical condition be made in consultation with a patient's physician or other qualified health care professionals who are familiar with the individual's specific health situation.
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