Available Therapies for PD Motor Symptoms
Levodopa (L-DOPA) is the "gold standard" therapy for PD. L-DOPA is the most effective treatment for motor symptoms and all people with PD eventually require it. L-DOPA is a dopamine prodrug that is converted to dopamine in the brain.
Continuous infusion of L-DOPA and carbidopa into the duodenum has been shown to be highly effective in treating motor complications. The treatment requires a surgical procedure to implant a tube across the wall of the abdomen and into the small intestine. Patients must wear a large external pump that infuses the drug into the body. Nearly all patients experience adverse events associated with the surgery and/or therapy.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical option for patients with severe motor symptoms, involving the implantation of neurostimulating electrodes into the brain. Although effectively reducing motor complications, DBS procedures have a 2–3% rate of severe complications such as stroke. Over 50% of DBS patients exhibit significant behavioral changes such as depression.
There are also lifestyle changes that can help people with PD to manage their symptoms, such as good nutrition and exercise, getting enough sleep, avoiding stress, and receiving physical and occupational therapy.