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What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a slow progressive disorder of the brain that is not life threatening but life altering. Parkinson's disease affects the area of the brain that controls movement and therefore, is known as a movement disorder. Parkinson's occurs when the brain cells that make a chemical substance called dopaminedie or are damaged. Dopamine is an important chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, that tells the body how and when to move. And, because there is no longer enough dopamine to carry these messages and movement becomes more difficult. The area most affected by this cell 'degeneration' is the substantia nigra deep within the brain. Parkinson's is both a chronic and progressive disease. Chronic means that it lasts for a long time. Progressive means the symptoms get worse over time.

Medicines for Parkinson's Disease

There are two general approaches to the treatment of Parkinson's disease with medicines. The first approach is attempt to slow the loss of dopamine in the brain while other is to try to improve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by other means. Most patients with Parkinson's disease can be adequately treated with medications that alleviate their symptoms. Now, highly effective and safe surgical treatments are also available, if medicines does not make sufficient difference.

There are specially trained doctors for treating Parkinson's disease (called movement disorders specialists). These specialist doctors have received special advanced training in treating Parkinson's disease and other related diseases. It is important to know that medicines one choose early in the course of the disease have a strong impact on the long-term course of the illness, therefore, once established, you should seek the advice of these specialists doctors.

Common Drugs Used to Treat Parkinson's

» Levodopa

Levodopa is the most commonly prescribed and most effective drug for controlling the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, particularly bradykinesia and rigidity. Levodopa is transported to the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. It is then converted into dopamine for the nerve cells to use as a neurotransmitter.

» Eldepryl

Eldepryl work by helping to conserve the amount of dopamine available by preventing the dopamine from being destroyed. There is some evidence that this drug may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease, particularly early in the course of the disease. This drug is well-tolerated by most people, so many experts recommend using it despite the controversies.

» Apo-Trihex

Trihexyphenidyl is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's. Apo-Trihex reduces the shakiness and restlessness caused by some tranquilizers and corrects the chemical imbalances that cause Parkinson's.

» Trivastal

Trivastal (Piribedil) a reference dopamine agonist effective in two major pathologies Parkinsons disease and cerebral aging.

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