Treatment options for Parkinson's disease include medications, such as carbidopa-levodopa, MAO-B inhibitors, dopamine antagonists and anticholinergics, as well as deep brain stimulation, according to Mayo Clinic. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease as of 2015, so the focus of treatment is the management of symptoms.
Medical treatment for Parkinson's disease aims to increase dopamine levels in the brain to minimize symptoms such as tremors and difficulty walking, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Carbidopa-levodopa combines levodopa, a substance that converts to dopamine in the brain, and cardidopa, a substance that keeps levodopa from converting to dopamine prematurely. Catechol O-methyltransferase inhibitors may be used in conjunction with this treatment to prolong its effect. MAO-B inhibitors help to prevent the breakdown of dopamine, and dopamine antagonists mimic the activity of dopamine for long-lasting symptom relief. Doctors have long used anticholinergics to treat Parkinson's disease, but they often cause side effects, such as hallucinations and constipation.
Patients with more advanced cases of Parkinson's disease who do not respond well to medication may choose to undergo deep brain stimulation in which electrodes implanted in the brain deliver pulses of electricity to the brain, as confirmed by Mayo Clinic. In addition to medication and surgery, doctors may also recommend regular aerobic exercise and physical therapy to help relieve symptoms.