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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 healthcare 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

Sinemet, Sinemet CR

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

Dopamine agonists

Mirapex, Parlodel, Requip, Apokyn

Imitate the way dopamine works in the brain.

MAO-B inhibitors

Eldepryl

Help dopamine work longer.

COMT inhibitors

Comtan, Stalevo (combines Comtan and Sinemet)

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

NMDA antagonists

Symmetrel

Reduce involuntary movements and tremors.

Anticholinergics

Trihexyphenidyl, Cogentin

Reduce tremor and rigidity.

 

*This chart is not a complete list of Parkinson’s medications. It does not imply endorsement of any type or brand. 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: Bernstein, Allan L, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Merrilees, Jennifer, RN, MS, PhD
Last Review Date: 10/12/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.