Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects the sufferer’s mobility and speech. It affects the central nervous system (Brain), leading to a person’s inability to control muscles throughout the body. It is a disease whose treatment does not intend to cure it but aims are controlling its manifestation. There are various ways of treatment of Parkinsonism. It may involve the use of drugs or the performance of surgery.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects the sufferer’s mobility and speech. It affects the central nervous system (Brain), leading to a person’s inability to control muscles throughout the body. It is a disease whose treatment does not intend to cure it but aims are controlling its manifestation. There are various ways of treatment of Parkinsonism. It may involve the use of drugs or the performance of surgery. Doctors strongly recommend exercise to keep muscles strong. It progresses gradually or severely from the early stages with mild symptoms and severe symptoms in later stages.
Objective of Treatment
The disease is a result of lowered formation and action of a brain chemical (Neurotransmitter) dopamine which is produced by the dopaminergic neurons found in the brain. This knowledge leads to the formation of drugs that will either increase the formation or mimic the actions of dopamine in the brain. This is important because an increase levels of dopamine results in of the affects of the disease. All the drugs which are used to treat Parkinson’s diseases contain dopamine as an active ingredient, regardless how it works.
Early Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
Among the earliest forms of treatments are the anticholinergics. These were used even before the introduction of Levodopa, which is now the most widely used drug. The anticholinergics drugs administration had very little benefits as compared to its harmful side effects. These side effects include dryness of mouth, urine retention (which especially occurs among men), and very severe constipation and nausea. There are some other side effects that are more serious and the major reason for the minimal use of these drugs. These include confusion, memory loss, and hallucination.
Now the prescriptions of these drugs have rarely seen. Since some anti-depressants and antihistamines tend to have almost the same effect as the anticholinergics, so doctors prescribe them to older people who are suffering from this terrible disease. Once an individual experiences any of the serious severe symptoms, stop these drugs immediately.
Levodopa is a drug that was introduced in 1967 and is currently the most commonly used drug. It is used to help to restore the control over ones muscles. Levodopa is referred to as the gold standard of Parkinson’s treatment because it is usually used as the first line of defense. The reason a sufferer of Parkinson’s can’t just take Dopamine itself is because Dopamine cannot breakthrough the blood-brain barrier (A check point, composed of blood capillaries that allow specific substance entrance in brain). Levodopa can get through this barrier and is converted to Dopamine once it reaches the brain. It therefore increases the level of Dopamine and counters the effects of the disease.
Levodopa however has very serious side effects which include nausea and dyskinesias (involuntary movement). This occurs because only a small percentage of Levodopa actually reaches the brain that transformed into Dopamine. The rest of it is transformed into dopamine in the body. It is therefore becomes necessary to use Carbidopa, which delays the metabolism (Breakdown) of Levodopa until it reaches the dopaminergic neurons in the brain. Levodopa-Carbidopa combination helps to reduce the side effects caused by single use of Levodopa.
The other problem posed by the use of this drug is that its dosage needs to be increased over time. This makes it unreliable because its effects are not constant, patient may suffers from violent attacks while still under medication. The various side effects and unreliability of Levodopa leads to the necessity to combine it with various other drugs to make it more effective. Some of these drugs can be used on their own while others actually require to be used with the Levodopa-Carbidopa combination.