Send to

Choose Destination
Neurology. 2009 Feb 17;72(7 Suppl):S65-73. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31819908ce.

Treatments for Parkinson disease--past achievements and current clinical needs.

Author information

Department of Neurology, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.


Although idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) remains the only neurodegenerative disorder for which there are highly effective symptomatic therapies, there are still major unmet needs regarding its long-term management. Although levodopa continues as the gold standard for efficacy, its chronic use is associated with potentially disabling motor complications. Current evidence suggests that these are related to mode of administration, whereby multiple oral doses of levodopa generate pulsatile stimulation of striatal dopamine receptors. Current dopamine agonists, while producing more constant plasma levels, fail to match levodopa's efficacy. Strategies to treat levodopa-related motor complications are only partially effective, rarely abolishing motor fluctuations or dyskinesias. Best results are currently achieved with invasive strategies via subcutaneous (s.c.) or intraduodenal delivery of apomorphine or levodopa, or deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus. Another area of major unmet medical need is related to nondopaminergic and nonmotor symptoms of PD. Targeting transmitter systems beyond the dopamine system is an interesting approach, both for the motor and nonmotor problems of PD. So far, clinical trial evidence regarding 5-HT agonists, glutamate antagonists, adenosine A(2) antagonists and alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonists, has been inconsistent, but trials with cholinesterase inhibitors and atypical antipsychotics to treat dementia and psychosis, have been successful. However, the ultimate goal of PD medical management is modifying disease progression, thereby delaying the evolution of motor and nonmotor complications of advanced disease. As understanding of preclinical markers for PD develops, there is new hope for neuropreventive strategies to target "at risk" populations before clinical onset of disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center