Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Select An Article

Drug Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Font Size

Dopamine Agonists

Dopamine agonists are drugs that activate the dopamine receptor. They mimic or copy the function of dopamine in the brain.

Requip, Mirapex, and Neupro are dopamine agonists. These medications may be taken alone or in combination with Sinemet. Generally, dopamine agonists are prescribed first and levodopa is added if the patient's symptoms cannot be controlled sufficiently.

Because dopamine agonists are better tolerated and do not have the same risks of long-term complications as levodopa therapy, dopamine agonists are often the first choice of treatment for Parkinson's disease.

However, dopamine agonists do carry a risk of short-term side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light-headedness, confusion, and hallucinations.


Symmetrel may be a helpful treatment for people with mild Parkinson's disease, but it may cause side effects including confusion and memory problems. Symmetrel increases the amount of dopamine available for use in the brain, therefore reducing symptoms of Parkinson's. There have been recent reports that Symmetrel may help reduce the involuntary movements (dyskinesia) associated with levodopa therapy.

Anticholinergics (Artane, Cogentin)

Anticholinergics are used to restore the balance between the two brain chemicals, dopamine and acetylcholine, by reducing the amount of acetylcholine. This acts to reduce tremor and muscle stiffness in people with Parkinson's. These medications, however, can impair memory and thinking, especially in older people; therefore, they are rarely used today.

Eldepryl and Azilect

Eldepryl and Azilect work by helping to conserve the amount of dopamine available by preventing the dopamine from being destroyed. While controversial, there is some evidence that Eldepryl may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease, particularly early in the course of the disease. Eldepryl is well-tolerated by most people, so many experts recommend using it. Common side effects include nausea, dizziness/fainting, and stomach pain.

Azilect is taken once daily and can be taken alone early in the disease or with other Parkinson's drugs as the disease progresses. Early animal studies suggest Azilect may also slow progression of Parkinson's. Side effects include headache, joint pain, indigestion, and depression.

Tasmar, Comtan (COMT Inhibitors)

When COMT is blocked, dopamine can be retained and used more effectively, reducing Parkinson's symptoms. COMT inhibitors can also increase the effectiveness of levodopa.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
hands on walker
How does the disease progress?
man with serious expression
8 common questions and answers.
intelligence quotient illustration
What are the advantages of DBS?
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Eating Right
Parkinsons Exercise
daughter consoling depressed mother
senior man's hands
Parkinsons Daily

WebMD Special Sections