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Treatment Options for Parkinson's Disease

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There is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but it can be managed -- and the symptoms of the disease can be relieved or reduced.

Treating Parkinson's disease is often a "team effort" involving not only your neurologist but also a wide variety of specialists. Your health care team should include:

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, the outward symptoms of Parkinson's are distinctive enough for a doctor to make a diagnosis in the office. There is no blood test or brain scan that confirms the diagnosis. But if you don't respond to the drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, it’s possible you may have another type of movement disorder that causes the same type of symptoms. Doing additional tests can help your doctor determine if some other problem is causing your parkinsonian symptoms.

Read the Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

  • Neurologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Speech therapists
  • Registered dietitians

The goals of treatment vary for each person, but in most cases, treatment for Parkinson's disease is designed to:

  • Maintain overall quality of life
  • Improve mobility and function
  • Reduce rigidity
  • Reduce tremor
  • Reverse slowed movements
  • Improve posture, gait, balance, speech, and writing skills
  • Maintain mental sharpness

Drugs to Treat Parkinson's Disease

Most people with Parkinson's disease can be treated using prescribed medications. The most commonly prescribed drugs include:

If you react adversely to medications, or if the medications become ineffective, surgery may be advised.

Surgery for Parkinson's Disease

Depending upon your needs, medical history, health, and symptoms, one of the following procedures may be considered for Parkinson's disease:

There are many other procedures being researched. One of the most promising involves the transplantation of fetal dopamine neurons (tissue transplant) into the brains of people with Parkinson's disease. The hope is that these cells will be able to re-grow the damaged dopamine-producing nerve cells.

Alternative Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

Alternative therapy may also be used to treat Parkinson's disease. The most touted in recent years has been the effect of Vitamin E on reversing the progression of the disease; although, this effect is still being debated by the scientific community.

Relaxation and guided imagery have also been suggested to help with stress, depression, and anxiety. Medical studies have shown that relaxation and guided imagery may help slow the progression of symptoms as well as quicken healing time after surgeries or injuries.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on October 11, 2014
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