Which medications are used to control the motor symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD)?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Levodopa coupled with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor (PDI), such as carbidopa, remains the gold standard of symptomatic treatment of motor features of Parkinson disease. It provides the greatest antiparkinsonian benefit with the fewest adverse effects in the short term. However, its long-term use is associated with the development of fluctuations and dyskinesias. Moreover, the disease continues to progress, and patients accumulate long-term disability. (See Treatment.)

Dopamine agonists such as pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip) can be used as monotherapy to improve symptoms in early Parkinson disease or as adjuncts to levodopa in patients who are experiencing motor fluctuations. Monoamine oxidase (MAO)-B inhibitors, such as selegiline (Eldepryl) and rasagiline (Azilect) provide mild benefit as monotherapy in early disease and as adjuncts to levodopa in patients with motor fluctuations. (See Medication.) Entacapone (Comtan), a catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor, reduces the peripheral metabolism of levodopa, thereby making more levodopa available to enter the brain over a longer period; this agent is used as an adjunct to levodopa in patients with motor fluctuations.


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