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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Drug therapy in patients with Parkinson’s disease

Thomas Müller

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology, St. Joseph Hospital Berlin-Weissensee, Gartenstr. 1, 13088, Berlin, Germany

Translational Neurodegeneration 2012, 1:10  doi:10.1186/2047-9158-1-10

Published: 24 May 2012


Parkinson`s disease (PD) is a progressive, disabling neurodegenerative disorder with onset of motor and non-motor features. Both reduce quality of life of PD patients and cause caregiver burden. This review aims to provide a survey of possible therapeutic options for treatment of motor and non motor symptoms of PD and to discuss their relation to each other. MAO-B-Inhibitors, NMDA antagonists, dopamine agonists and levodopa with its various application modes mainly improve the dopamine associated motor symptoms in PD. This armentarium of PD drugs only partially influences the onset and occurrence of non motor symptoms. These PD features predominantly result from non dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Autonomic features, such as seborrhea, hyperhidrosis, orthostatic syndrome, salivation, bladder dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, and neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as depression, sleep disorders, psychosis, cognitive dysfunction with impaired execution and impulse control may appear. Drug therapy of these non motor symptoms complicates long-term PD drug therapy due to possible occurrence of drug interactions, - side effects, and altered pharmacokinetic behaviour of applied compounds. Dopamine substituting compounds themselves may contribute to onset of these non motor symptoms. This complicates the differentiation from the disease process itself and influences therapeutic options, which are often limited because of additional morbidity with necessary concomitant drug therapy.

Motor symptoms; Parkinson’s disease; non motor features; drug therapy