Parkinson's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

17. Are there other medications available to treat Parkinson's?

Yes. Other medications available to treat some symptoms and stages of Parkinson's disease include direct dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, COMT inhibitors, an anti-viral drug, and anticholinergics.

Direct dopamine agonists are drugs that mimic the role of dopamine in the brain. They can be used in the early stages of the disease, or later on to give a more prolonged and steady dopaminergic effect in people who experience "wearing off" or "on-off" effects from taking the drug. Dopamine agonists are generally less effective than levodopa in controlling rigidity and bradykinesia. They can cause confusion in older adults.

MAO-B inhibitors are another class of drugs that can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's by causing dopamine to build up in surviving nerve cells. COMT inhibitors prolong the effects of levodopa by preventing the breakdown of dopamine. COMT inhibitors can usually make it possible to reduce a person's dose of levodopa.

Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, can help reduce Parkinson's symptoms in the early stages of the disease, and again in later stages to treat dyskinesias. Anticholinergics can help reduce tremors and muscle rigidity.