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Medicines for Parkinsonís Disease

At this time much research is focused on finding treatments that slow or stop PD. The treatments available today have been proven to relieve bothersome symptoms of PD and improve everyday activities. There is no standard or ďbestĒ treatment for Parkinsonís disease. People with PD can have a range of symptoms. That means people need to work with their neurologist to find the treatment that is the best ďfitĒ for their needs. Over time, the doctor may increase the dose of medications or add new medications.

Here are the types of medicines currently used to treat PD:

Levodopa has been used for more than 30 years to treat PD. It can effectively control symptoms by restoring the supply of dopamine in the brain. Another medicine called carbidopa is almost always combined with levodopa in a single pill (carbidopa/levodopa). This extends the effects of levodopa and helps reduce side effects.

Dopamine agonists mimic the role of dopamine in the brain. They can be effectively used alone in the early phase. Later, they can be used to prolong the response to levodopa.

MAO-B inhibitors slow the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. This makes more dopamine available and helps to improve function. They can be effectively used in the early phase of PD or can be taken with levodopa to extend its effectiveness.

COMT inhibitors are another class of medicines that are used to extend the action of levodopa. They work only if levodopa is taken. They are not useful by themselves.

Anticholinergic medicines are used to help control the tremor that many PD patients experience.

Amantadine is an older medicine with many effects on the nervous system. It can help control tremor and other uncontrolled movements. It can be used alone in the early stages of PD or used later with levodopa.

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