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Treatment

Medications for Motor Symptoms

Since most symptoms of PD are caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain, many Parkinson’s drugs are aimed at either temporarily replenishing dopamine or mimicing the action of dopamine. These types of drugs are called dopaminergic medications. They generally help reduce muscle rigidity, improve speed and coordination of movement and lessen tremor.

Always remember that medication is only part of the overall treatment plan for combatting PD. Learn more about the available medications on these pages, but don't forget exercise and complementary therapies.

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone. For people with Parkinson’s, exercise is more than healthy: it is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and the ability to perform activities of daily living. 

What's Hot in PD?: Current Steering and New Deep Brain Stimulation Technologies: What’s Here and What’s Coming

Date: 
Friday, November 4, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

A surprising fact about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery technology is that human DBS leads (the wire implanted in the brain and connected to the neurostimulator) and their four shiny, tiny contacts have not really changed much over the last two decades. One reason for the durability of DBS lead design has been the long-term beneficial effects of using this simple approach.

What's Hot in PD? The Myth About Focused Ultrasound Therapy Being the Scalpel-less Cure for Parkinson’s Disease

Date: 
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Author: 
Dr. Michael S. Okun

We are blessed to have the National Parkinson Foundation’s terrific free 1-800-4PD-INFO Helpline staffed by nurses and social workers with experience in the field. Recently, many people have called the Helpline after seeing a video declaring focused ultrasound therapy as “the scalpel-less cure for Parkinson’s disease.” The Helpline staff thought it important to objectively explore this therapy and discuss whether it is indeed a scalpel-less cure.

Deep Brain Stimulation

What are the facts?

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of disabling neurological symptoms—most commonly the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement, and walking problems.
  • The procedure is also used to treat essential tremor, a common neurological movement disorder.
  • DBS does not damage healthy brain tissue by destroying nerve cells. Instead the procedure blocks electrical signals from targeted areas in the brain.

Surgical Treatment Options

While surgery can be an effective treatment option for different symptoms of PD, only the symptoms that previously improved on levodopa have the potential to improve after the surgery. Surgical treatment is reserved for PD patients who have exhausted medical treatment of PD tremor or who suffer profound motor fluctuations (wearing off and dyskinesias). Learn more now about the available surgical treatment options and visit the Ask the Surgical Team forum, where Kelly D. Foote, M.D.

MAO-B Inhibitors

What Are the Facts?

  • MAO-B is an enzyme that naturally breaks down several chemicals in our brain, including dopamine.
  • MAO-B inhibitors help to block the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. This makes more dopamine available and reduces some of the motor symptoms of PD.
  • MAO-B inhibitors provide modest benefit for the motor features of PD. They are usually used early in the disease as monotherapy (meaning it is the only drug you take) or as an adjunct (add-on) to other medications.

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