Parkinson's Disease Treatment
Although no treatment has proven to slow down or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease, some treatment options can significantly alleviate symptoms. These treatments include medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery, among others. However, a healthcare provider will consider several factors (such as current symptoms, mental and emotional state, and other medications) before recommending a specific treatment plan.
Parkinson's Disease Treatment: An OverviewCurrently, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Also, there is no treatment that has been shown to slow down or stop the progression of the disease. However, there is treatment for Parkinson's disease that provides dramatic relief from the symptoms.
Before recommending a specific treatment, your healthcare provider will consider several factors, including your:
- Current Parkinson's disease symptoms, along with how much the symptoms disrupt your life
- Mental and emotional state
- Current medications.
Based on these factors, your healthcare provider will recommend one or several different treatment options. Some of these treatment options can include:
- Lifestyle changes and support
Medications for Treating Parkinson's DiseaseNot everyone who is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease will immediately require medicine. Many people are only mildly affected and do not require medications for several years after the initial diagnosis.
When Parkinson's treatment does become necessary, healthcare providers often begin with one or more of the less powerful Parkinson's disease medications. This includes such drugs as:
- Selegiline (Eldepryl®, Zelapar®, Emsam®)
- An anticholinergic
- A dopamine agonist, such as pramipexole (Mirapex®), pramipexole ER (Mirapex® ER™), or ropinirole (Requip®).
This allows healthcare providers to save the most powerful treatment (specifically, levodopa) for the time when people need it most.
When Parkinson's disease symptoms become severe, healthcare providers usually prescribe levodopa combined with carbidopa. Carbidopa-levodopa products are available as the brand-name medicines Sinemet®, Sinemet® CR, Parcopa®, or as a generic. Carbidopa is used with levodopa because it delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine (a chemical messenger) until it reaches the brain. Nerve cells can use levodopa to make dopamine and replenish the brain's dwindling supply of this neurotransmitter.
Several other medicines have been approved for treating symptoms of Parkinson's. These can be given alone or in combination with levodopa in order to treat symptoms. You can learn more about these by clicking Parkinson's Disease Medications.