Treatments

Choice of Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is no standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Treatment for each person with Parkinson’s is based on his or her symptoms.

Treatments include medication and surgical therapy. Other treatments include lifestyle modifications, like getting more rest and exercise.

There are many medications available to treat the Parkinson’s symptoms, although none yet that reverse the effects of the disease. It is common for people with PD to take a variety of these medications — all at different doses and at different times of day — to manage symptoms.

While keeping track of medications can be a challenging task, understanding your medications and sticking to a schedule will provide the greatest benefit from the drugs and avoid unpleasant “off” periods due to missed doses.

Although there are general guidelines that doctors use to choose a treatment regimen, each person with Parkinson’s disease (PD) must be individually evaluated to determine which drug or combination of medications is best for them. For some, a “first choice” drug might be one of the levodopa preparations, and for others, an initial prescription may be given for one of the agonists, an MAO inhibitor or an anticholinergic.

The choice of medication treatment depends on many variables including symptoms present, other existing health issues (and the medications being used to treat them) and age. Dosages vary greatly depending on a person’s needs and metabolism.

Since most symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain, many PD drugs are aimed at either temporarily replenishing dopamine or mimicking the action of dopamine. These types of drugs are called dopaminergic medications. They generally help reduce muscle rigidity, improve speed and coordination of movement and lessen tremor.

Always remember that medication is only part of the overall treatment plan for combatting PD. Learn more about the available medications, but don’t forget exercise and complementary therapies.