What are the treatments for the disease?
There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. The major goal of treatment is to prevent deterioration. Symptoms can usually be well controlled for several years in the early stages of the disease.
Early in the disease, medications are used. One of the most common medicines is a combination of levodopa and carbidopa. Although this combination is effective, it tends to work less and less over time. Other medications used to treat Parkinson's disease include the following:
Another treatment is surgery. Surgery can include removal of a tiny part of the brain. Another approach is deep brain stimulation with electricity.
People may need other treatments to deal with the many problems associated with the disease. If dementia is present, close monitoring may be needed. Treatment with antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, or sedatives can also help relieve some symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy, as well as speech therapy may help. The use of a service dog and in-home care may be needed.
Other medications may be used in late-stage Parkinson's disease to control symptoms. Medicines can be helpful when there are problems with bladder control, for example. Men with Parkinson's disease may be given medications for erectile dysfunction.
Researchers continue to test new treatments for Parkinson's disease. Implanting fetal cells into the brain of people with Parkinson's disease was recently tried and failed. In some people, the treatment caused severe problems with movement.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Medications used to treat Parkinson's disease may cause abnormal body movements. Other side effects include nausea, drowsiness, confusion, and dry mouth.
Surgery may cause difficulty with speech or paralysis on one side of the body. Deep brain stimulation usually requires more than one operation. There is also a risk of bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the disease?
People with Parkinson's disease need treatment for life.
How is the disease monitored?
A family member or caregiver is important when it comes to monitoring Parkinson's disease. They can give the healthcare provider day-to-day input on benefits and side effects of treatment. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.