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Parkinson's Disease

Read time: 5 mins
Last updated: 20th Jul 2020

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which results in depletion of dopamine within the substantia nigra pars compacta in the central nervous system. Parkinson’s disease primarily affects the motor system causing the classical symptoms of bradykinesia, tremor and rigidity. In addition, Parkinson’s disease results in non-motor symptoms such as depression and dementia which can worsen over time.

The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown and there are no disease-modifying treatments. However, dopaminergic pharmacotherapies designed to restore depleted dopamine in the brain are the mainstay of treatment. These include levodopa, dopamine agonists and monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitors.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, motor complications emerge related to long-term symptomatic treatment. This requires more frequent dosing or the addition of other therapies, such as catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors.

Visit our dedicated Parkinson’s disease Learning Zone for learning resources on diagnosing motor fluctuations, treatment guidelines and the available COMT inhibitors.

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