Treatment Options for Parkinson's Disease

Although Parkinson’s disease currently has no cure, there are a number of treatment options, including medication and surgery.

Treatments for Parkinson's disease include:

Drug Therapies

  • Dopaminergic drugs (including levodopa) – a class of drugs with dopamine-like action used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease
  • Decarboxylase inhibitor – a drug that is used with levodopa to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease
  • Dopamine agonists – a class of drugs that binds to dopamine receptors and imitates the action of dopamine
  • Anticholinergics – a class of drugs that relaxes smooth muscle and is used primarily to treat tremor in Parkinson's disease
  • MAO-B inhibitors – a class of drugs used to treat all symptoms of Parkinson's disease. These drugs block an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, allowing it to be at the receptor longer
  • COMT inhibitors – a class of drugs that binds to dopamine receptors and imitates the action of dopamine

Although medications for Parkinson's disease can be used to improve motor function, they may lose their effectiveness over time, cause side effects, or both. Additionally, as the condition progresses, the medication levels required for motor function control may cause intolerable or undesirable side effects.

Pallidotomy

A pallidotomy involves destruction of a region of the brain involved with the control of movement. A pallidotomy may be one- or two-sided. Adverse effects may include haemorrhage, weakness, visual and speech deficits and confusion.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Therapy

DBS is a brain stimulation therapy that offers an adjustable and if necessary, reversible therapy for Parkinson's disease. The therapy uses an implanted medical device similar to a pacemaker to deliver electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas of the brain. Stimulation of these areas enables the brain circuits that control movement to function better.

There are surgical and medication side effects of DBS. Please refer to Risks and Benefits for more information.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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