There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. And because treatment is aimed at reducing the symptoms, every treatment plan is individualized. Treatment is usually recommended as soon as symptoms are interfering with daily life. Together with your doctor, you will come up with a treatment plan that works best for you.
Treatment of Parkinson's disease can involve medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
Medications used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease help to increase dopamine levels in the brain or mimic the action of dopamine. Dopamine can't be given directly because it can't cross the blood-brain barrier, a lining that insulates the brain from the rest of the body. However, a medication called levodopa does get into the brain, where it is converted to dopamine, which is then used to replace the missing dopamine and improve control of movements.
It was once thought that treatment with medications such as levodopa should be delayed because of the concern that the medication becomes less effective after about 2 to 5 years of treatment. There was also concern about people taking levodopa developing alternating bouts of disabling stiffness and uncontrolled movements called dyskinesias. However, recent studies have shown these concerns to be unfounded and that early treatment is needed to help with physical and mental functioning.
Levodopa is often given with other medications such as carbidopa, benserazide, or entacapone that allow for smaller doses of levodopa to deliver more benefit.
Other medications for Parkinson's include bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole, which belong to a group of medications called dopamine agonists. Rather than replacing dopamine, these medications directly stimulate the areas that usually respond to dopamine. Other medications that may also be used include anticholinergic medications (e.g., benztropine), monoamine oxidase B inhibitors (e.g., rasagiline, selegeline), and amantadine.
For people who have tremors or other movement symptoms that are no longer responding to treatment, or have disabling dsykinesias caused by medications, there are surgical options.
Deep brain stimulation involves sending an electrical current through a wire to the areas of the brain that control movement (thalamus, subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus). This helps to block the abnormal signals produced in Parkinson's disease. Research continues to evaluate which areas of the brain are the best targets for deep brain stimulation. Research is now focusing on treatments that protect the brain. Monoamine oxidase B inhibitors (e.g., selegeline) are being studied. It is not clear yet if high-dose coenzyme Q10 and creatine slow down the disease progression.
Regular exercise and physical therapy can help stave off loss of motor control. Keeping active and eating a good diet are vital in the management of Parkinson's disease. People with Parkinson's disease should eat a high-fibre diet and drink plenty of fluids because both Parkinson's and some of the medications used for treatment can cause constipation. Your doctor may recommend supplements and laxatives to keep you regular.
Make sure that you have regular follow-ups with all of your health care providers, such as your doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and nutritionist.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Parkinsons-Disease