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All about Parkinson's disease causes of Parkinson's disease risk factors for Parkinson's disease complications of Parkinson's disease stages of Parkinson's disease early symptoms of Parkinson's disease symptoms of Parkinson's disease diagnosis of Parkinson's disease Parkinson's disease treatment Parkinson's disease medications Parkinson's disease surgeries physical therapy for Parkinson's disease l-dopa (levodopa)

What medications are available to cure Parkinson's disease?

Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson’s disease make movement easier and can prolong function for many years. Medications aim to replace or mimic the missing chemical dopamine in the brain. The pharmacological treatment of Parkinson's disease is complex. While there are a large number of drugs that can be effective, their effectiveness varies

with the patient, disease progression, and the length of time the drug has been used. Dose- related side effects may preclude the use of the most effective dose, or require the introduction of a new drug to counteract them. There are five classes of drugs currently used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Drugs that replace dopamine

One drug that helps replace dopamine, levodopa (L-dopa), is the single most effective treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. L-dopa is a derivative of dopamine, and is converted into dopamine by the brain. It may be started when symptoms begin, or when they become serious enough to interfere with work or daily living. L-dopa therapy usually remains effective for five years or longer. Following this, many patients develop motor fluctuations, including peak-dose "dyskinesias" (abnormal movements such as tics, twisting, or restlessness), rapid loss of response after dosing (known as the "on-off" phenomenon), and unpredictable drug response. Higher doses are usually tried, but may lead to an increase in dyskinesias. In addition, side effects of L-dopa include nausea and vomiting, and low blood pressure upon standing (orthostatic hypotension), which can cause dizziness. These effects usually lessen after several weeks of therapy.

Enzyme inhibitors

Dopamine is broken down by several enzyme systems in the brain and elsewhere in the body, and blocking these enzymes is a key strategy to prolonging the effect of a dose of dopamine. The two most commonly prescribed forms of L-dopa contain a drug to inhibit the amino acid decarboxylase (an AADC inhibitor), one type of enzyme that breaks down dopamine. These combination drugs are Sinemet (L-dopa plus carbidopa) and Madopar (L-dopa plus benzaseride). Controlled-release formulations also aid in prolonging the effective interval of an L-dopa dose. The enzyme monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitor selegiline may be given as add-on therapy for L-dopa. Research indicates selegiline may have a neuroprotective effect, sparing nigral cells from damage by free radicals. Because of this, and the fact that it has few side effects, it is also frequently prescribed early in the disease before L-dopa is begun. Entacapone and tolcapone, two inhibitors of another enzyme system called catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), may reach the market before the turn of the century, as early studies suggest that they effectively treat Parkinson’s disease symptoms with fewer motor fluctuations and decreased daily L-dopa requirements..

Dopamine agonists

Dopamine works by stimulating receptors on the surface of corpus striatum cells. Drugs which also stimulate these receptors are called dopamine agonists, or DAs.. Dopamine agonists are used both as adjuncts to levodopa therapy and also initially in early Parkinson's disease, especially in younger adults. The side effects of dopamine agonists are similar to those of levodopa, although they are less likely to cause involuntary movements and more likely to cause hallucinations or sleepiness. This class of drugs includes the older dopamine agonists, bromocriptine (Parlodel) and pergolide (Permax), and the newer drugs, pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip). Avoid dopamine agonists if you already have experienced hallucinations or confusion. DAs may be used before L-dopa therapy, or added on to avoid requirements for higher L-dopa doses late in the disease

Anticholinergic drugs

Anticholinergics help control tremors in the early stages of the disease. Even so, they're only mildly beneficial and sometimes the benefits are offset by side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, urine retention - especially in men with an enlarged prostate - and severe constipation. Antcholinergics can also cause mental problems, including memory loss, confusion and hallucinations. A number of anticholinergic drugs, such as trihexyphenidyl (Artane) and benztropine (Cogentin), are available. The antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl and antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) work much like anticholinergics and may be used in older adults who can't tolerate anticholinergics themselves.


Amantadine (Symadine, Symmetrel) stimulates the release of dopamine and may be used for patients with early mild symptoms. It has some benefit against muscle rigidity and slowness and may help some patients in advanced stages who are unresponsive to other drugs. It is less powerful than levodopa and may lose its effectiveness after about half a year. It may also reduce motor fluctuations brought on by levadopa, however, and these benefits appear to persist for at least a year.

More information on Parkinson's disease

What is Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease is a progressive and degenerative movement disorder with primary motor symptoms. Parkinson's disease results from degeneration of dopamine-releasing neurons of the substantia nigra.
What causes Parkinson's disease? - The immediate cause of Parkinson's disease is degeneration of brain cells in the area known as the substantia nigra, one of the movement control centers of the brain.
Who're the risk factors for Parkinson's disease? - Age is one of the main risk factors for Parkinson's disease. Reduced estrogen levels may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease.
What're the complications of Parkinson's disease? - Dementia is the common complication of elderly Parkinson patient. Parkinson's disease poses a triple threat on the emotional health of its victims.
What're the stages Parkinson's disease? - Parkinson's disease may also be described by five stages: stage I (mild or early disease), stage II, stage III (moderate disease)...
What're the early symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Early symptoms may include slight tremor or stiffness, a reduced sense of smell, a tendency to reduce body movements, difficulty walking.
What're the symptoms of Parkinson's disease? - Symptoms of Parkinson's disease include tremor, muscle stiffness, abdominal cramps, rapid speech with little expression in the voice, problems with sleeping.
How is Parkinson's disease diagnosed? - Diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on symptoms. There is no specific diagnostic procedure or laboratory test to establish the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
What're the treatments for Parkinson's disease? - There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. The treatment of Parkinson's disease mainly relies on replacing dopamine with levodopa.
What medications cure Parkinson's disease? - Drugs currently used to treat Parkinson's disease make movement easier and can prolong function for many years. The pharmacological treatment of Parkinson's disease is complex.
What about surgeries for Parkinson's disease? - Surgery for Parkinson's disease include pallidotomy, thalamotomy, deep-brain stimulation, and transplantation.
What about physical therapy for Parkinson's disease? - Following a program of regular exercise can help people with Parkinson's disease maintain mobility. Physical therapy can help Parkinson's disease patient.
What is l-dopa (levodopa)? - Levodopa, or L-dopa, which is converted to dopamine in the brain, remains the gold standard for treating Parkinson's disease.
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