Medicines are the most common treatment
Parkinson's disease. The goal is to correct the
shortage of the brain chemical (neurotransmitter)
dopamine, which causes the symptoms of Parkinson's
disease. Treatment with drugs is usually started when symptoms become disabling
or disrupt a person's daily activities.
Parkinson's disease are prescribed with specific
instructions about when to take them. It is important to follow your doctor's
instructions concerning how and when to take your drugs so that they will be
effective and safe. Increasing, decreasing, or stopping
the medicines you are taking may cause big changes in your symptoms and can be
dangerous. Even if a medicine doesn't seem to be working, when you stop taking
it, your symptoms of Parkinson's disease may be worse.
Since you've recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What stage is my illness in now?
2. How quickly do you think my disease will progress?
3. How will Parkinson's disease affect my work?
4. What physical changes can I expect? Will I be able to keep up the activities, hobbies, and sports I do now?
5. What treatments do you suggest now? Will that change as the disease progresses?
6. What are the side effects of medication?...
Treatments may differ
based on a person's symptoms and age and how the person responds to a certain
drug. Drugs often improve symptoms, but they also may cause side effects. It
may take some time to find the best combination of drugs for a particular
Currently, levodopa is thought to be the most effective drug
for controlling symptoms of Parkinson's disease and for many years was the
preferred drug for treating newly diagnosed people.5
But because long-term use of levodopa at high dosages often leads to
motor complications that can be difficult to manage, sometimes doctors use dopamine agonists (such as pramipexole and ropinirole)
to treat people during the early stages of Parkinson's disease. Using these
drugs in the early stages of the disease may allow treatment with levodopa to
be delayed. But dopamine agonists have more side effects and don't control
symptoms as well as levodopa. And in the long term, the same amount of people
have motor complications no matter what medicine is used first.1
The decision about whether it is better to use
levodopa or a dopamine agonist as the first treatment
has not been fully resolved. The choice will most likely be different for each
person. It is
important to work with your doctor to find the medicines that work the best for
Several drugs may be used to treat Parkinson's disease at
different stages of the disease.
In general, treatment of early
Parkinson's starts with one or more of these medicines:
Apomorphine. This medicine is a fast-acting dopamine agonist used for treating
occasional episodes of immobility associated with Parkinson's disease.
Apomorphine can be injected under the skin when muscles become "stuck" or
"frozen" and you are unable to rise from a chair or perform daily activities.
What To Think About
Early in the disease, it might be helpful to take pills with food to help
with nausea, which may be caused by some medicines taken for Parkinson's
disease. Later in the disease, taking the medicines at least one hour before
meals (and at least two hours after meals) may help them work best. Some
medicines for Parkinson's disease don't work as well if you take them at the
same time you eat food with protein in it, such as meat or cheese. The protein
can block the medicine and keep it from working as well as it should.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 03, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this