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Parkinson’s Disease: Understanding Your Medications

Medications are key to treating Parkinson’s. You may be prescribed one or more medications. Be sure you know the names of your medications and when and how to take them. Ask your health care provider what side effects you might expect. Also ask if you should avoid eating certain foods or drinking alcohol.

Types of Medications*

Examples

How They Help

Levodopa combined with carbidopa

Carbidopa-levadopa

Levodopa replaces missing dopamine. Carbidopa helps levodopa enter the brain with fewer side effects.

Dopamine agonists

Pramipexole, bromocriptine, ropinirole, rotigotine

Imitate the way dopamine works in the brain.

MAO-B inhibitors

Selegiline, rasagiline

Help dopamine work longer.

COMT inhibitors

Entacapone, combination of carbidopa, levodopa, and entacapone

Taken with levodopa. Help dopamine enter the brain and work longer.

NMDA antagonists

Amantadine

Reduce involuntary movements and tremors.

Anticholinergics

Trihexyphenidyl, benztropine

Reduce tremor.

 

*This chart is not a complete list of Parkinson’s medications.It does not include all side effects or adverse reactions. It does not include all interactions or precautions for these drugs. Only a doctor can recommend or prescribe these medications.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Gomez, Wanda, RN, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 9/29/2013
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