Treatment — Medication

Medication for Parkinson's can often help treat symptoms associated with early onset Parkinson's disease.

Do you want to treat your symptoms with Parkinson's disease medications? If so, should you start now or wait a while? And which medication(s) are right for you? These are among the tough questions people with early onset Parkinson's disease confront. Your answers will be balanced among many other considerations.

Before making any decisions about treatment of Parkinson's disease, you will probably want to learn about the different types of medications available for Parkinson's disease and discuss the pros and cons of each with your physician. It may help to know that there is no one "right" answer, and if you try something that doesn't work for you, you can always adjust your plan.

Levodopa, also known as L-DOPA, has long been, and continues to be, the most effective drug in treating PD symptoms in people of all ages, and most will take the drug at some point. However, there are side effects associated with Levodopa. Research suggests that younger people on medications like levodopa are more likely than older people to develop motor fluctuations and involuntary movements (most commonly called dyskinesia). Therefore, some younger people choose to delay the use of L-DOPA, opting instead for treatment with dopamine agonists, especially in the early stages of the disease.

Work with your physician to determine which medications are best for you, and know the risks and benefits of each. Here's a partial list of Parkinson's medications, with generic and trade names. For a full list of medications, with common side effects, see the link below to the APDA publication "Medications Approved for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease in the USA."

  • Generic Name/Trade Name
  • Carbidopa-levodopa/Sinemet
  • Bromocriptine/Parlodel
  • Pramixpexole/Mirapex
  • Ropinirole/Requip
  • Apomorphine/Apokyn
  • Rotigotine/Neupro
  • Selegiline/Eldepryl
  • Rasagiline/Azilect
  • Tolcapone/Tasmar
  • Entacapone/Comtan
  • Amantadine/Symmetrel
  • Trihexyphenidyl/Artane
  • Benztropine/Cogentin
  • Neupro Patch

Finding a neurologist or movement disorders specialist who has an understanding of the unique aspects of early onset Parkinson's disease may help you maximize symptom control, minimize any side effects and improve your overall quality of life.