Because the course and presentation of Parkinson’s disease (PD) varies from person to person, you will work closely with a team of healthcare providers to determine the best treatments to manage your specific symptoms. Conventional treatments may include:
The time to begin taking medications for PD is different for everyone. For many people, the first step is simply to work with your healthcare team to monitor your symptoms. Your provider may recommend medication when your symptoms begin interfering with your activities of daily living, especially exercising and movement.
You may first be prescribed medication for motor symptoms. These medications may include levodopa (which is converted into dopamine in the brain) or a dopamine agonist (which uses synthetic chemicals to stimulate dopamine receptors). Levodopa is considered the gold standard for alleviating symptoms of PD. It is used in combination with another medication, carbidopa, to help tolerate side effects and reduce the amount of levodopa needed.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend medications for non-motor symptoms individualized to your experience of PD, such as medications to help with cognition, mood, or bowel and bladder issues. You should always tell your provider about any other medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking, to avoid drug interactions.