Levodopa is the most common medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Levodopa helps with muscle control and is one of the few drugs that can cross the blood-brain-barrier. The blood brain barrier is a layer of cells and blood vessels that protects the brain from harmful viruses and drugs. Levodopa is often combined with carbidopa. The medication Sinemet is a combination of Levodopa and Carbidopa. Carbidopa treats nausea, which is a side effect of Levodopa.
There are a group of medications called dopaminergic agents that also help people with Parkinson’s disease regain muscle control. These medications perform the same job of dopamine in the brain (the loss of dopamine is what causes the many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease). These dopaminergic agents are: Bromocriptine (Pariodel), Pergolide (Permax), Pramipexole (Mirapex), and Ropinirole (Requip)
Entacapone is a COMT inhibitor and helps to slow the destruction of dopamine. This medication is usually taken with Levodopa. A COMT inhibitor prevents the a specific enzyme in the brain from attacking and breaking down neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters help send messages in the brain.
Anticholinergice agents help to control tremors and rigidity. Amatadine helps control movement problems and Apomorhine helps with freezing episodes (freezing is being unable to move). Modafinil (Provigil) and Clonazepam (Klonopin) help with sleeping problems and various antidepressants help with depression. Tolterodine, Oxybutynin and Tamsulosin (Flomax) help with bladder problems. Testosterone replacement and Viagra help to treat intimacy problems.
Other medications that help with Parkinson’s disease symptoms are the Monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors Selegiline (Deprenyl) and Rasagiline (Azilect).
Additional resource that provide more information on medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease
- Prescription Medications (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation)
- Medications (National Institutes of Health)
- Over-the-Counter Medications (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation)
- Medications for Motor Symptoms (National Parkinson Foundation)
- Drugs@FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
*** This page isn’t specifically about Parkinson’s Disease medications. But, you can search for a medication and find more information about it.