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Currently, there is no treatment to slow or stop Parkinson's disease, but therapy is used to treat some of the symptoms of the disease. Parkinson's treatment is individualized for each person, as each person's symptoms are different. Treatment can include medication, surgical therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, rest, and exercise.
Some commonly-prescribed medications include:
Levodopa: This drug is also known as L-dopa. It can reduce symptoms of slowness, stiffness, and tremors. It is a very effective treatment. It is combined with an enzyme inhibitor (carbidopa) because blood enzymes break down most of the levodopa before it reaches the brain and has a chance to work. Once L-dopa reaches the brain, it is converted to dopamine, which is released by the brain cells. It then activates dopamine receptors, which allows for normal function of the movement control centers of the brain.
Amantadine: This medication may be used alone, or in some patients, in combination with levodopa. Amantadine reduces fatigue, tremors, and bradykinesia in patients with early Parkinson's disease.
Anticholinergic: These medications can reduce tremors or rigidity. They can be taken alone or with levodopa. One of the side effects of anticholinergic is increased confusion, so this drug is rarely used with older Parkinson's patients.