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Neurology. 2002 Feb 26;58(4 Suppl 1):S79-86.

Treatment of early Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA.


The early treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) consists of nonpharmacologic treatment, consideration of neuroprotective therapy, and initial symptomatic treatment. Education for the patient and family, access to support groups, regular exercise, and good nutrition are essential to the overall management of PD. Disease-modifying therapies, such as agents that provide neurorescue or neuroprotection, will provide a major advance in the treatment of PD. Intervention at the genetic/environmental level or that affects the cascade of pathophysiologic events, protein aggregation, or apoptosis could result in neuroprotection. Many agents are now being investigated for neuroprotective potential. A major paradigm shift has recently occurred because of the recent basic and clinical data indicating that dopamine agonists, rather than levodopa, should be the initial symptomatic therapy in PD. However, levodopa may be started first in some patients because of patient age, cognitive status, or cost of drugs.

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