The medication administered to a Parkinson's patient is tailored to his or her specific needs. Finding the most effective combination of medications with the least side effects often involves a period of trial and error. Some patients build up a resistance to their medication, making changes necessary from time to time. Be sure to communicate with your doctor if you have any questions, are experiencing unpleasant side effects or find that your medication becomes less effective.
The following are some of the drugs most commonly used for Parkinson's – depending on the needs of the individual.
- Dopamine-enhancing drugs such as levodopa and carbidopa help with walking, movement and tremors. Levodopa and carbidopa are also effective in treating bradykinesia and rigidity.
- Dopamine Agonists (adjuncts to levodopa) which enhance the action of the dopamine present
- Amantadine (antiviral drug with dopamine properties)
- MAO-B Inhibitors (Dopamine is oxidized by the enzyme monoamine oxidase B and MAO-B inhibitors boost the effects of levodopa as they help to slow the breakdown of dopamine)
- Anticholinergics (adjuncts to levodopa) can help with symptoms such as excessive salivation and can enhance autonomic activity
- COMT (catechol-O-methyl transferase) Inhibitors
Surgery is another treatment option to consider when medical treatment becomes ineffective. There are risks involved and it is not guaranteed that the symptoms will improve. Surgical procedures include:
A heated electrode is inserted into the targeted area
Thalamotomy involves the destruction of small amounts of tissue in the thalamus
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
In DBS, the targeted area is inactivated, but not destroyed, by an implanted electrode.
Transplantation or Restorative Surgery
In transplantation, or restorative, surgery dopamine-producing cells are implanted into the striatum of the brain.
An electric current is used to destroy a small amount of tissue in the pallidum (globus pallidus), a part of the brain responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Pallidotomy may improve tremor, rigidity and slowed movement, and can be helpful in countering the involuntary movements caused by drug therapy.
Complementary Treatment Modalities for Parkinson's Disease
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Music therapy
- Alexander technique
- Tai Chi
- Support Groups
- Herbal and Homeopathic remedies
Natural Remedies for Parkinson's Disease
Natural therapies such as herbal and homeopathic treatments may be very helpful for the person with Parkinson's and can help to address a wide variety of symptoms. Make sure you speak with your doctor before adding any remedies to your prescription drugs and do not suddenly stop prescription medication without medical advice from a doctor or homeopath.
Natural remedies can help to reduce tremors, promote the health of the brain and nervous system, improve mood and anxiety levels – and also address problems like bladder infections, constipation and other related ailments. This can all help to reduce the individual's reliance on multiple prescription drugs.