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What Medication Is Used For Parkinson’s Disease

What Are The Other Forms Of Medicines That Can Cause Parkinsons Disease

Medications for Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson Educational Symposium 2020

Some of the other common medicines which can cause Parkinsons disease may include some forms of anti-depressants, anti-nausea drugs, drugs used for the treatment of vertigo, drugs used for epilepsy and anti-arrhythmics. It should be remembered that not all drugs in these classes may cause signs of Parkinsonism. The doctor generally makes the patient aware of the side-effects before prescribing a certain form of drugs. Nevertheless, it is important from the patients part to ask about the side-effects of the prescribed medicines.

An Approach To The Treatment Of Parkinson’s Disease

No treatment can arrest or slow neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease. The aim is to relieve symptoms and avoid the complications of therapy.

Early Parkinson’s disease

Many studies have shown that early treatment with dopamine agonists reduces the incidence of dyskinesia.1Fewer motor fluctuations were shown in some but not all of the studies. We recommend a dopamine agonist as the first treatment in younger patients who have mild disease and no cognitive deficit. It is necessary to add levodopa within 1-5 years in most patients. In more severe disease, treatment begins with levodopa but a dopamine agonist may be added to keep the daily dose of levodopa in the lower range if there is no cognitive deficit. Dopamine agonists are used infrequently and with caution in patients more than 70 years old because of the risk of neuropsychiatric adverse effects and postural hypotension. They are contraindicated in the presence of dementia.

Isolated resting tremor is rarely disabling, but if it interferes with function it can usually be managed with levodopa. When this is ineffective at low to moderate doses, the addition of an anticholinergic can sometimes be useful.

Patients with motor fluctuations

Role of physical therapy and surgery

Some Disadvantages Of Comt Inhibitors

These drugs can increase the side effects caused by levodopa, notably dyskinesias , nausea and vomiting.

If these side effects increase after starting the drug, people should raise the issue with their healthcare professional, as reducing the levodopa dose can often help.

COMT inhibtors will discolour urine making it a reddish-brown colour. Some people also experience diarrhoea which may occur some months after commencing the medication.

Be aware that other drugs for Parkinsons or other conditions can affect the action of COMT inhibitors. The combination of apomorphine and entacapone needs careful supervision.

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What Are The Causes

Drug-induced parkinsonism is caused by medications that reduce dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that works to control bodily movements.

Dopamine is also part of the brains reward system. It helps you feel pleasure and enjoyment, and it supports your ability to learn and focus.

Medications that bind to and block dopamine receptors are called dopamine antagonists. These medications arent used to treat Parkinsons disease. Rather, theyre used to treat other conditions that might seriously impact your quality of life.

If your doctor has prescribed a medication that causes unwanted side effects, you may have options. You may also decide that the side effects are worth it if the medication effectively treats your condition.

Some medications that cause drug-induced parkinsonism include:

What Drugs Can Cause Parkinsons Disease

current drugs for parkinsons disease download table 7

Physiologically, Parkinsons disease is caused due to low levels of dopamine secretion in the body. Thus, any medication that blocks the level of dopamine in the body and cause Parkinsons symptoms. Dopamine is a brain chemical that essentially helps control movement of a person. The various drugs include-

Antipsychotic Drugs- Parkinson symptoms are seen to be common in patients who are prescribed antipsychotic drugs. Parkinsonism as a side effect of chlorpromazine is quite common. Typical antipsychotic drugs include chlorpromazine, promazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, fluphenazine and pimozide. Dopamine receptors are widely distributed in the brain and typical antipsychotics may affect dopamine receptors in the striatum.

GI Motility Drugs- GI prokinetic drugs like metoclopramide, levosulpiride, clebopride, itopride and domperdone may cause side effects thereby making the patient prone to Parkinsonism.

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Dealing With Side Effects Of Parkinsons Drugs

Its important to speak to your specialist or pharmacist if you notice anything unusual.

Changing or adding to your medication might help, and your specialist will be able to look into this.

For many people with advanced Parkinsons, medication may start to be reduced if side effects outweigh the benefits of taking medication.

But if some of the medication is reduced, you may find you get the benefits of the remaining ones, rather than the side effects.

If you experience side effects from your Parkinsons medication, you shouldnt stop taking it without guidance from your specialist.

What Are The Different Stages Of Parkinsons Disease

Each person with Parkinsons disease experiences symptoms in in their own unique way. Not everyone experiences all symptoms of Parkinsons disease. You may not experience symptoms in the same order as others. Some people may have mild symptoms others may have intense symptoms. How quickly symptoms worsen also varies from individual to individual and is difficult to impossible to predict at the outset.

In general, the disease progresses from early stage to mid-stage to mid-late-stage to advanced stage. This is what typically occurs during each of these stages:

Early stage

Early symptoms of Parkinsons disease are usually mild and typically occur slowly and do not interfere with daily activities. Sometimes early symptoms are not easy to detect or you may think early symptoms are simply normal signs of aging. You may have fatigue or a general sense of uneasiness. You may feel a slight tremor or have difficulty standing.

Often, a family member or friend notices some of the subtle signs before you do. They may notice things like body stiffness or lack of normal movement slow or small handwriting, lack of expression in your face, or difficulty getting out of a chair.

Mid stage

Mid-late stage

Standing and walking are becoming more difficult and may require assistance with a walker. You may need full time help to continue to live at home.

Advanced stage

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Impulsive And Compulsive Behaviour

A small number of people taking levodopa have problems with impulsive or compulsive behaviour. This can also be called impulse control disorder. It affects a much smaller percentage of people taking levodopa than those taking dopamine agonists, but it is still a possible side effect. Further information is available at Compulsive and impulsive behaviour.

Another potential problem is dopamine dysregulation syndrome, where someone with Parkinsons might be tempted to take more of their Parkinsons medication than they are prescribed. If you think this is happening to you or the person you are caring for, tell your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse right away.

It is important that all people with Parkinsons are monitored for any potential risk of impulsive and compulsive behaviour while being treated with levodopa.

People with Parkinsons, their carers, friends and family members should work with healthcare professionals to monitor any changes in behaviour. If you start to experience these symptoms, you should discuss it with your specialist or Parkinsons nurse immediately. You should not stop taking the medication.

What Is Parkinsons Disease

Medications For Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinsons disease is a nervous system disease that affects your ability to control movement. The disease usually starts out slowly and worsens over time. If you have Parkinsons disease, you may shake, have muscle stiffness, and have trouble walking and maintaining your balance and coordination. As the disease worsens, you may have trouble talking, sleeping, have mental and memory problems, experience behavioral changes and have other symptoms.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:

Other symptoms include:

  • Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
  • Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
  • Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
  • Low blood pressure.

Mechanism Of Action Of Available Drugs

The major classes of drugs currently available for the treatment of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease are shown in Table 1. Many aim to increase dopamine in the brain, by increasing its production or altering its metabolism .

Table 1

Drugs with alter metabolism in boxed red italics

Levodopa

Levodopa is absorbed from the small intestine and transported into the brain where it is converted to dopamine. Levodopa has a short plasma half-life of about one hour. Early in Parkinson’s disease, levodopa has a long duration of action which is independent of plasma concentration, but as the disease progresses, the duration of the effect reduces. The short-duration effect is strongly linked to plasma concentration and lasts, at most, hours.

Slow-release preparations are gradually absorbed, resulting in more sustained plasma concentrations. They have reduced bioavailability higher doses are required to match the benefit of an equivalent strength of a standard preparation. Rapid release preparations are taken in liquid form to enhance passage through the stomach and absorption from the small intestine.

Dopamine agonists

Apomorphine is a potent emetic so patients must be pre-treated with domperidone 20 mg three times daily orally for at least 48 hours before the first injection. Domperidone should be continued for at least a few weeks once regular intermittent treatment has commenced. The dose can then be tapered slowly as tolerance to the emetic effects of apomorphine usually develops.

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How Anticholinergics Are Used

These medications are older and are not used very often for Parkinsons today. Sometimes they are prescribed for reducing tremor and muscle stiffness. They can be used on their own, especially in the early stages of your Parkinsons when symptoms are mild, before levodopa is prescribed.

Anticholinergics can also be used with levodopa or a glutamate antagonist. They are taken as tablets or as a liquid.

Medication Guidelines For Parkinson’s Disease

Journal

There is no one best mix of Parkinson√Ęs medicines. You and your doctor will have to try a few treatment approaches to figure out the best one for you.

But there are some general guidelines for taking your medication. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist for any specific tips for your treatment.

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What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms

Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.

Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.

Impulsive And Compulsive Behavior

Some people taking dopamine agonists may experience problems with impulsive or compulsive behaviours. For example an increased desire to gamble or engage in sexual activity. These behaviours often develop slowly so may not seem to be a problem immediately. It is important for both the person living with Parkinsons and their family to be aware of this side effect. If affected by this side effect, a reduction in dose or stopping the medication will stop the behaviour.

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How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed

Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.

To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.

If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.

Treatment Of Late Stage Complications Of Parkinson’s Disease

Medications for Parkinson’s Disease – 2017 UF Parkinson’s Disease Symposium

Postural hypotension

Levodopa and dopamine agonists worsen postural hypotension and it may be necessary to lower the dose of levodopa or withdraw the agonist. Treatment is difficult, but patients should be advised to sleep with the head of the bed raised by one or two bricks and to add salt to their diet. Fludrocortisone can then be added at a dose of 0.1 mg in the morning, increasing if necessary up to 0.5 mg in the morning. If these measures are ineffective, the alpha agonist midodrine 10-20 mg four hourly can be useful but it is experimental and only available via the Special Access Scheme. Patients treated for postural hypotension need to have electrolytes, renal function and supine blood pressures closely monitored.

Parkinsonian psychosis, depression and dementia

Psychotic symptoms such as visual hallucinations and persecutory delusions occur most commonly in the setting of dementia, which may be mild and therefore easily missed. Most drugs for Parkinson’s disease make these symptoms worse. Depression is also common and requires treatment in its own right.

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Pain Relievers And Other Options

If you’re in pain, your healthcare provider may suggest you take over-the-counter pain relief medications such as Motrin , Aleve or aspirin. These medications may work to relieve minor aches and pains that you experience from your Parkinson’s disease due to immobility, stiffness, and rigidity.

However, your healthcare provider may want to try some other remedies first. These options include:

  • Adjusting your Parkinson’s medications. Since pain can be caused by the muscle-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it’s possible that it can be managed by adjusting the medications prescribed to manage those symptoms. Your healthcare provider is the best judge of whether this is possible, and how to accomplish it.
  • Exercise. Again, most persistent pains in Parkinson’s are due to the motor problems associated with the condition. An exercise program can help you alleviate those motor problems, which should, in turn, cause the accompanying aches and pains to diminish. Talk to your healthcare provider about starting such an exercise program.

Other options to treat pain in Parkinson’s disease include massage, physical therapy, and stretching.

Withdrawal Syndrome With Levodopa

Research has shown that withdrawal symptoms can happen when someone very suddenly stops taking levodopa, perhaps because they are experiencing impulsive and compulsive behaviour. It can lead to symptoms such as depression, anxiety and pain. Any withdrawal from Parkinsons medications needs to be done gradually, under the supervision of a health professional, to avoid the risk of developing this syndrome.

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How Anticholinergics Work

These medications block the action of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that is found in your body. Acetylcholine helps to send messages from your nerves to your muscles.

In the brain, there is normally a balance between the activity of dopamine and the activity of acetylcholine. But in Parkinsons a deficiency in the brain of the neurotransmitter dopamine causes over-activity of acetylcholine. Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholines activity to restore this balance and help reduce your Parkinsons symptoms.

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Side Effects And Problems With Dopamine Agonists

Common side effects of dopamine agonists include:

If you are taking Cabergoline , Pergolide or Bromocriptine your neurologist or GP will have to arrange a chest CT scan or ultrasound of your heart yearly as over time these medications may affect heart or lung tissue.

This precaution does not apply to the other dopamine agonists available in Australia.

Some Disadvantages Of Mao

When selegiline is taken together with levodopa, side effects such as dyskinesias , hallunications or vivid dreaming may sometimes occur or worsen.

When people have taken rasagiline on its own , the most commonly reported side effects have been:

When taken with levodopa, the most common reports have been of uncontrolled movements and accidental falls.

Many of these side effects may be due to the increase in dopamine caused by rasagiline or selegiline. Your doctor or consultant can alter the dosage to correct these effects.

If youre taking some types of antidepressant, you might not be able to take MAO-B inhibitors, as these drugs can interact with each other to raise blood pressure to a dangerous level.

Your neurologist or pharmacist is the best person to advise on potential interactions with other medications.

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