Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex progressive brain disorder that disrupts the brain’s ability to regulate movement. At Dignity Health Southern California, our treatment strategies focus on reducing the severity of symptoms, including tremor, walking problems, and muscle rigidity. Surgery and medication are the primary treatment options for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Your quality of life and health is our neurologists’ top priority. Use our online Find a Doctor tool to make an appointment and learn more about your options for Parkinson’s disease treatment in Southern California. Our neurological team offers an expertise in caring for neurological conditions with compassion and humankindness.
Surgery for Parkinson’s Disease
The most common surgical treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves the implantation of a deep brain stimulator (DBS). In DBS implantation surgery, the surgeon implants a small, pacemaker-like device under the skin near your collarbone. This device is connected to an an electrode in the brain. The DBS device blocks errant nerve signals that cause movement symptoms by sending electrical pulses to the brain.
Patients whose symptoms have become less responsive to other treatments may be good candidates for DBS.
Medications for Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease happens when the brain slowly stops producing dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter — a brain chemical that allows communication between nerve cells. Medications can help improve your symptoms by increasing dopamine levels.
The medications doctors at Dignity Health Southern California typically prescribe for Parkinson’s disease include:
- MAO-B inhibitor and COMT inhibitor drugs make more dopamine available to nerve cells by prevent the breakdown of dopamine in the brain.
- Dopamine agonist drugs behave like dopamine in the brain.
- Levodopa/carbidopa combination. Nerve cells in the brain use levodopa to create dopamine. Doctors usually prescribe levodopa in conjunction with carbidopa, which blocks the conversion of levodopa into dopamine anywhere else in the body besides the brain.
- Amantadine is an antiviral medication that also helps reduce the motor/movement symptoms of Parkinson’s.
- Anticholinergic drugs reduce symptoms such as tremor by decreasing the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain.
Expert Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease at Dignity Health Southern California
Our highly trained neurology team is here to answer your questions about treating Parkinson’s disease with respect and personal care. While evaluating your options, your doctor will consider your specific needs.
Due to its success rate, drug therapy remains the front-line treatment for Parkinson’s disease. However, talk to your neurologist if you feel you may be a candidate for DBS surgery. Your doctor may also recommend complementary therapies to help reduce muscle stiffness and improve your quality of life. Dignity Health offers individualized treatment options for Parkinson’s disease in Southern California.