Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug Treatment For Parkinson's Disease Can Help Confirm Suspected Diagnosis, Neurologist Says

Date:
December 3, 2008
Source:
Henry Ford Health System
Summary:
Levodopa has long been proven to provide the greatest relief of all available medications in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Now one neurologist argues that levodopa should be used not only for treating both early and advanced stages of Parkinson's disease, but also for confirming a suspected diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Levodopa has long been proven to provide the greatest relief of all available medications in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It also is the most cost-effective drug for managing the full range of problems associated with this chronic neurological disorder, which affects an estimated one million Americans.

In the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital neurologist Peter A. LeWitt, M.D., writes that levodopa should be used not only for treating both early and advanced stages of Parkinson's disease, but also for confirming a suspected diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

"Within a few minutes after taking an oral dose of levodopa, a patient can recover from previous impairments in speech, dexterity and gait," says LeWitt. "Though the start of levodopa can be postponed if the clinical manifestations of Parkinson's disease are mild and tolerable, it may be the only effective option to control discomfort and disability even for mildly affected patients."

Affecting 1 to 2 percent of the population over the age of 60, Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that causes tremors and impairs a person's motor skills, speech, balance and posture. Its cause is unknown, but many clues are guiding clinical trials.

A small region deep within the brain is the source for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. When brain neurons in this part of the brain begin to die, these cells can no longer manufacture the molecule dopamine, a chemical critical for controlling movement. Levodopa replaces the deficient dopamine, reversing most features of Parkinson's disease.

Among patients with Parkinson's disease, the pace and extent of progression in neurologic deficits can greatly vary. The burden on quality of life spans a wide spectrum too, Dr. LeWitt says, from minimal discomfort and disability to marked impairment of capabilities such as independence, safety and communication.

While it is shown to improve motor impairments, levodopa often does not provide relief from the tremors and can cause involuntary movements and other side effects, requiring physicians to carefully re-assess the treatment regimen.

In the first few weeks of use, the dose of levodopa given to the patient may need to be adjusted to achieve maximum benefit. Over time, levodopa dosing often needs to be tailored to a patient's needs, sometimes in combination with other medications to optimize its effects.

"Although available controlled-release preparations are designed for more extended drug delivery, they generally do not achieve the same effects as immediate-release tablets taken closer together," writes Dr. LeWitt.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Henry Ford Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. LeWitt PA. Levodopa for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. N Engl J Med, 2008; 359: 2468-2476

Cite This Page:

Henry Ford Health System. "Drug Treatment For Parkinson's Disease Can Help Confirm Suspected Diagnosis, Neurologist Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081203184405.htm>.
Henry Ford Health System. (2008, December 3). Drug Treatment For Parkinson's Disease Can Help Confirm Suspected Diagnosis, Neurologist Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081203184405.htm
Henry Ford Health System. "Drug Treatment For Parkinson's Disease Can Help Confirm Suspected Diagnosis, Neurologist Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081203184405.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins