Drugs and Medical Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is not a deadly disease. However, the sufferer will experience a decrease in quality of life, making it difficult to carry out daily activities. Therefore, people with Parkinson’s need to get treatment to overcome their condition. The main way to treat Parkinson’s disease is through medical treatment, be it drugs or other procedures. So, what are the drugs and treatment procedures? Can Parkinson’s be cured with this treatment?

Drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that causes limitation of movement and movement disorders. In the early stages, the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are usually mild, then they can become more severe as the disease progresses.

Just like diabetes, Parkinson’s is an incurable disease. However, the symptoms that appear can still be controlled so as to avoid complications that may arise in the future. One of the most effective ways to control Parkinson’s symptoms is through medication.

But it should be underlined, not all available drugs can work on everyone, including the side effects that may be caused. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor about taking this anti-Parkinson’s drug. The doctor will determine the right type of medicine according to the symptoms you feel.

Here are some drugs that doctors usually give as a way to treat Parkinson’s disease:

1. Carbidopa-levodopa

Levodopa is a drug that is considered the most effective for treating the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This drug will be absorbed by nerve cells in the brain and converted into dopamine, which is an important chemical that plays a role in the human body’s movement system. With the consumption of levodopa, dopamine levels that are lost or reduced can be increased so that it can improve the movement problems you are experiencing.

Levodopa is often used in combination with carbidopa. This drug is given to prevent the conversion of levodopa to dopamine outside the brain, as well as to reduce side effects that may arise, such as nausea, dizziness, or fatigue.

However, taking carbidopa-levodopa for a long time and in high doses can cause uncontrolled body movements. To overcome this, the doctor will usually adjust the dose by looking at the side effects that may appear.

2. Dopamine agonist

Unlike levodopa which replaces dopamine in the brain, dopamine agonist drugs work by mimicking the effects of dopamine. Although not as effective as levodopa in treating Parkinson’s symptoms, dopamine agonists are safer to take for a long time. It is also sometimes given at the same time as levodopa, to allow the use of lower doses of levodopa.

However, dopamine agonists can also cause side effects, such as fatigue or dizziness, and can cause hallucinations and confusion, especially in elderly patients. Therefore, although this Parkinson’s drug can be found in pharmacies, purchase and use must be in accordance with a doctor’s prescription. As for some examples of dopamine agonist drugs, namely pramipexole, ropinirole, or rotigotine.

3. MAO-B inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitors, such as selegiline, rasagiline, and safinamide, are an alternative to the drug levodopa for treating early-stage Parkinson’s. This drug works by blocking the effect of the enzyme monoamine oxidase-B, which breaks down dopamine.

This drug is also not as effective as levodopa in relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s. However, MAO inhibitors are generally very well tolerated by the body, and are often given together with levodopa or dopamine agonists to be more effective. The side effects can include headaches, nausea or stomach pain, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

4. Catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors

The COMT inhibitor class of drugs, entacapone (Comtan), is usually prescribed for people with advanced Parkinson’s disease. This type of drug works by prolonging the effect of levodopa by blocking the COMT enzyme, which breaks down dopamine.

Some side effects that may arise from this drug, such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Other types of COMT inhibitor drugs, such as Tolcapone, are rarely prescribed by doctors because of the risk of serious liver damage and liver failure.

5. Anticholinergic

Anticholinergic drugs, such as benztropine or trihexyphenidyl, are often prescribed by doctors to control the tremors and muscle stiffness that often occur in people with Parkinson’s. However, this drug is not recommended for long-term use in elderly patients due to complications or serious side effects that may arise.

The side effects that may arise from the consumption of anticholinergic drugs are blurred vision, memory problems, confusion, hallucinations, dry mouth, constipation or constipation, and urination disorders.


The drug amantadine is usually given to people with early-stage Parkinson’s to relieve mild symptoms in the short term. However, administration of these drugs is sometimes accompanied by anticholinergics or levodopa-carbidopa in advanced stages. Amantadine is also said to be effective for controlling the involuntary movements of the body associated with Parkinson’s.

The side effects that may arise from consuming amantadine include the appearance of purplish spots on the skin, swelling of the ankles, difficulty concentrating or confusion, insomnia, and hallucinations.


In severe conditions and have advanced stages, people with Parkinson’s may be given the drug Doupa. This is a levodopa-carbidopa-type drug in the form of a gel that is inserted directly into your small intestine through a special tube or IV.

Placement of the tube and tube to insert this medicine requires a minor surgical procedure. As for the risks or side effects that may arise with the tube, namely a dropped tube or infection around the infusion site or tube.


In addition to Doupa, the type of drug levodopa-carbidopa also has an inhaled form, which is named Inbrija. According to the Mayo Clinic, Inbrija is a new brand of medication that may help control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, especially if oral medications suddenly stop working.

The types of drugs above are brand-name drugs that can generally be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, generic versions of the Parkinson’s drug levodopa-carbidopa, dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, and anticholinergics are available, although the standards are not high enough. You should always consult with your doctor about the consumption of these drugs.

Other possible Parkinson’s disease treatment procedures

In addition to drugs, another way to treat or overcome Parkinson’s disease is by surgical procedures. Usually, this procedure is performed for patients with Parkinson’s who are at an advanced stage, have severe symptoms, and do not have a stable response to medications, including levodopa.

However, the risk of surgery is higher than with drugs. Therefore, the doctor will weigh the benefits of surgery that will be obtained compared to the risks that may occur. This procedure will also be determined based on the type and severity of symptoms, deterioration in the patient’s quality of life, and the patient’s overall health.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

In addition to minor surgery to insert a tube and insert dopa drugs directly into the intestinal area, the type of surgical procedure that is often performed for people with Parkinson’s disease is deep brain stimulation (DBS).

In this procedure, the surgeon will implant electrodes into specific areas of your brain. The electrodes will be connected to a generator that is placed in the chest near the collarbone. This generator then generates an electric current to be sent to parts of the brain and stimulates areas affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Although there is no cure, this method can relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in some people, including tremors, involuntary movements (dyskinesia), stiffness, and improving slow movements. However, even this medication does not prevent Parkinson’s disease from developing.


The pallidotomy procedure is usually recommended for treating aggressive Parkinson’s or patients who do not respond to medication. This surgical procedure involves inserting a wire probe into the globus pallidus, a very small part of the brain that also plays a role in controlling movement.

Experts argue this part of the brain becomes hyperactive due to loss or reduction of dopamine. With this medication, the symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as dyskinesia, tremors, muscle rigidity, and loss of involuntary movement, can gradually decrease.


The thalamotomy procedure is generally performed to treat the symptoms of tremors in the hands or arms that people with Parkinson’s often feel. This surgical procedure uses a current of radiofrequency energy to destroy the small part of the thalamus in the brain that causes tremors to occur.

Additional treatment

In addition to the methods above, your doctor may give you additional medication and medication to help with non-motor symptoms that often arise. For example, if you have cognitive problems, including dementia, your doctor may prescribe medication or therapy to treat the condition. However, if you have psychological symptoms, such as depression, psychotherapy or medication for depression may be given.

In addition, therapy for Parkinson’s disease, including the adoption of a recommended healthy lifestyle, may also be recommended as a supportive treatment for your condition. Make sure to always consult a doctor for any symptoms you feel and how to deal with them.

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