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Can Parkinsons Be Managed Without Medication

Mechanism Of Action Of Available Drugs

Managing Parkinson’s disease with medications | Nervous system diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

The major classes of drugs currently available for the treatment of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease are shown in Table 1. Many aim to increase dopamine in the brain, by increasing its production or altering its metabolism .

Table 1

Drugs with alter metabolism in boxed red italics


Levodopa is absorbed from the small intestine and transported into the brain where it is converted to dopamine. Levodopa has a short plasma half-life of about one hour. Early in Parkinson’s disease, levodopa has a long duration of action which is independent of plasma concentration, but as the disease progresses, the duration of the effect reduces. The short-duration effect is strongly linked to plasma concentration and lasts, at most, hours.

Slow-release preparations are gradually absorbed, resulting in more sustained plasma concentrations. They have reduced bioavailability higher doses are required to match the benefit of an equivalent strength of a standard preparation. Rapid release preparations are taken in liquid form to enhance passage through the stomach and absorption from the small intestine.

Dopamine agonists

Apomorphine is a potent emetic so patients must be pre-treated with domperidone 20 mg three times daily orally for at least 48 hours before the first injection. Domperidone should be continued for at least a few weeks once regular intermittent treatment has commenced. The dose can then be tapered slowly as tolerance to the emetic effects of apomorphine usually develops.

Options For Managing Bipolar Depression Without Medication

Mood stabilizers are the primary treatment for bipolar disorder but even with them, and certainly without them, bipolar depression can be hard to manage. However, there are options that act as antidepressants that are not pharmacological in nature.

According to Jim Phelps MD, a noted bipolar specialist, these include:

  • Bipolar-specific psychotherapy many psychotherapies have been shown to be useful in bipolar disorder treatment. These include:
  • Prodrome detection therapy seeing the signs of a bipolar mood before it is full-blown
  • Psychoeducation becoming educated about bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive therapy involves multiple areas of therapy including building a support team and coping with depression
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy involves improving personal interactions and creating a routine to help with bipolar disorder
  • Family-focused therapy involves multiple types of therapy including psychoeducation and diagnosis acceptance. This therapy also gets the family involved with the person with bipolar disorder.
  • N-acetylcysteine an over-the-counter amino acid that may work to treat bipolar depression but likely is subject to tolerance, like most medications.
  • Thyroid hormone getting ones thyroid hormone in an optimal range for bipolar disorder can reduce symptoms. While this does require testing and a prescription, the medication is not psychopharmacological in nature.

What Did This Study Do

The LEAP study was a randomised double-blind trial conducted in the Netherlands. It recruited 445 people with recently diagnosed Parkinsons disease from 57 hospitals.

The early start group received 100mg of levodopa three times a day for 80 weeks plus another drug to minimise side effects. The delayed start group received a placebo for the first 40 weeks, then the levodopa regimen for the remaining 40 weeks.

Change in functional ability of participants was measured at 80 weeks using the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale , range 0 to 176, with higher numbers indicating worsening function. A four-point difference on this scale is thought to be clinically important.

Some participants in the delayed-start arm of the trial began treatment earlier than planned due to increasing symptoms, which might have reduced the difference between the two groups studied.

Also Check: Rapid Onset Dystonia Parkinsonism Life Expectancy

What Are Factors Influencing The Development Of High Blood Pressure

  • 1. Diet
  • Sodium
  • High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure due to its effects on the kidneys and fluid retention.
  • Potassium
  • Low potassium levels are linked to hypertension. Eat foods rich in potassium or take a potassium supplement to heal high blood pressure.
  • Magnesium
  • Magnesium deficiency is another factor linked to high blood pressure. Magnesium and potassium are key minerals for regulating blood pressure. Eat foods rich in magnesium or try supplementing.
  • Vitamin D
  • Getting adequate sunshine and vitamin D is imperative to healthy blood pressure. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to blood vessel dysfunction and hypertension. Get in the sun. Aim to get at least 20 minutes or more of uninterrupted sunshine each day.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Omega 3 fats are essential and must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. These fats are critical to maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood flow.
  • 2. Behavior
  • Weight
  • Being overweight puts strain on the heart muscle causing it to weaken and lose normal function over time. Shed the weight and improve blood pressure.
  • Physical inactivity
  • Lack of physical activity is linked to high blood pressure. Exercise improves blood vessel function and promotes good flow.
  • High intakes of alcohol
  • Alcohol acts like a toxin in the body. High alcoholic intakes or repeated binge drinking can contribute to vascular damage and inflammation leading to hypertension.
  • Tobacco use
  • High level of stress
  • 3. Conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Age
  • Anticholinergics For Early On

    Can Focused Ultrasound Cure Side Effects of Parkinsons ...

    The first pharmacological agents used in PD therapy were anticholinergic drugs. They reduce the activity of acetylcholine by acting as antagonists at choline receptors, hoping to restore the balance between dopamine and acetylcholine levels that was disturbed by PD. These drugs have largely been replaced by L-DOPA and other centrally acting dopaminergic agonists, but they still remain available for use in the treatment of PD. Benztropine, biperiden, diphenhydramine, ethopropazine, orphenadrine, procyclidine, and trihexyphenidyl are included in this therapeutic class of drugs, though there is little pharmacokinetic information available on them because of their low plasma drug concentrations. Typically, anticholinergic drugs have a greater role in tremor-predominant PD and can be a monotherapy in early stages, but are usually done in adjunct with L-DOPA or other prescribed medications.

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    Speech And Occupational Therapy

    Parkinsons disease can lead to slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. A speech and language therapist can provide muscle training techniques that may help overcome some of these problems.

    An occupational therapist can help identify everyday tasks that can be challenging and work with the person to find practical solutions.

    This may include new strategies for dressing, preparing meals, performing household chores, and shopping. Adaptations to the home environment can also make daily living easier.

    For people with Parkinsons disease, deep brain stimulation may help manage:

    • tremor
    • an electrode inside the part of the brain that controls movement
    • a pacemaker-like device, or neurostimulator, under the skin in the upper chest
    • a wire under the skin connecting the neurostimulator to the electrode

    The neurostimulator sends electrical impulses along the wire and into the brain via the electrode. These impulses can prevent symptoms by interfering with the electrical signals that cause them.

    There is a small risk of brain hemorrhage, infection, and headaches. Some people may see no improvement, or their symptoms may worsen. There may also be discomfort during stimulation.

    Nevertheless, the AAN considers this treatment safe and effective for specific people and say any adverse effects are usually mild and reversible. Anyone considering this treatment should discuss the pros and cons with a healthcare professional.

    How Can I Remember To Take My Parkinsons Medication On Time

    There are lots of things you can do to help you get your medication on time.

    For example, you could:

    • set an alarm on your phone or smart watch

    • get a family member to call you at the right time or arrange care visits around when you need to take your medication

    • use a pill box with sections for each day and time. You pharmacist can advise on the different ones available and we also sell them on the Parkinsons UK shop

    Talk to your Parkinsons nurse if you are struggling to remember to take your medication. They can work with you to reschedule your treatment regime so that it fits around you.

    Read Also: Is Parkinsons Genetic

    Activities Of Daily Living

    There are many things a person does every day without even thinking about it such as bathing, brushing teeth, walking, turning in bed, signing checks, cutting food. When a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it can eventually make all of these things more difficult. The following tips are meant to be helpful and raise awareness of adjusting to some of the difficulties with PD.


    • Remove throw rugs and low-lying obstacles from pathways inside and outside your home.
    • Use a cane when necessary.
    • Avoid using stepladders or stools to reach high objects.
    • Stop walking or sit down if you feel dizzy.
    • Install handrails, especially along stairways.
    • Slow down when you feel yourself in a hurry.
    • Before rising from your bed or bath, pause for a moment in a sitting position.

    Sensory complaints

    • Stretch every day, especially before exercising.
    • Exercise daily to build stamina.
    • Warm baths and regular massage will help relax tired muscles.
    • When your hands or feet get cold, wear gloves or warm socks.
    • Don’t overdo physical activities know your limits and stay within them.

    Turning in bed

    Sleep problems







    • Perform difficult tasks when you feel well and when your medication is working effectively.
    • Relax. Sit down from time to time, relax your arms and shoulders, and take deep breaths.
    • Get a regular massage.
    • Ask your physical therapist or doctor to recommend a stretching and exercise program.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
    • Get plenty of rest.


    Can You Manage Bipolar Disorder Without Medication

    Q& A Session: Parkinson’s Medication Management for Motor Symptoms

    Many people want to know, Can you manage bipolar disorder without medication? The answer to this is both simple and complex. Managing bipolar disorder without medication is possible for a few, but not many. Read below about possible options for managing bipolar without medications .

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    What Will Happen If I Forget To Take My Medication

    It is important to discuss with your doctor what would happen if you do forget to take your medication so that you are prepared, and understand what action you should take.

    If you forget to take your medication you may notice that your symptoms become worse, often known as wearing-off, as the effects of the medication literally wear off. Symptoms may then either re-emerge or worsen before the next dose of medication is due. This tends to begin to happen over a period of time as Parkinsons progresses and when it occurs, the control of both motor and non-motor symptoms fluctuates. This phenomenon is very individual and there is no standard time frame for when this may occur or what symptoms you might experience.

    The range of wearing-off symptoms is very broad so any changes in your usual pattern should be discussed with your doctor as he or she may be able to adjust your medication regime to help control these symptoms better.

    See also Wearing-off and motor fluctuations and Managing medication.

    Are There Clinical Trials For Parkinsons

    A clinical trial is a research program done with patients to evaluate a new medical treatment, drug, or device. The goal is to find new and improved ways to treat diseases and conditions.

    During a clinical trial, doctors use the best available treatment as a standard to evaluate new treatments. The new treatments are hoped to be at least as effective as — or possibly more effective than — the standard.

    New treatment options are first carefully researched in the laboratory — in the test tube and in animals. Treatments most likely to work are further evaluated in a small group of humans. Then, they may be moved to a larger clinical trial.

    When a new medical treatment is studied for the first time in humans, scientists don’t know exactly how it├óll work. Any new treatment has possible risks and benefits. Clinical trials help doctors find out:

    • If the treatment is safe and effective
    • If the treatment could be better than treatments currently available
    • The side effects of the treatment
    • Possible risks of the treatment

    Some advantages of taking part in a clinical trial are:

    Some disadvantages of participating in a clinical trial are:

    If you take part in a clinical trial, you may notice some changes in your care:

    If you think you might want to take part in a clinical trial, find out as much as possible about the study before you decide. You can ask:

    For information about ongoing Parkinson’s disease studies, contact the National Institutes of Health.

    Read Also: How Much Mannitol Should I Take For Parkinson’s

    Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease

    There are no diagnostic tests for Parkinsons. X-rays, scans and blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions. For this reason, getting a diagnosis of Parkinsons may take some time.

    No two people with Parkinsons disease will have exactly the same symptoms or treatment. Your doctor or neurologist can help you decide which treatments to use.

    People can manage their Parkinsons disease symptoms through:

    • seeing a Doctor who specialises in Parkinsons
    • medication
    • multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
    • deep brain stimulation surgery .

    If I Forget To Take A Dose Of Medication What Should I Do

    Treatment and Management of Parkinsons Disease
    • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember and then adjust the time of your next dose. For example, if you normally take doses at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm and you forget your midday dose until 2pm, take it then and adjust your next doses to 6pm and 10pm.

    • Do not take two doses together to make up for a dose that you forgot to take or take your late dose really close to your next one. This is because you might experience side effects including nausea or dizziness.

    • If you are taking a once daily medication and you forget a dose, you can still take the dose if you remember on the same day. But, if you dont remember until the following day you shouldnt double up your dose.

    • If you forget your medication you may experience increased Parkinsons symptoms. It can happen on the same day or the day after, so make sure you are careful about driving your car or using machinery.

    Read Also: Parkinson’s Weakness In Legs

    What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms

    Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.

    Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.

    Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.

    How To Help Reduce Episodes

    Off times become more common after people with PD have been taking medication for a longer time and as their disease progresses. While the presence of off times happens as a normal progression of PD, there are things that can help manage or reduce these episodes:

  • Tell your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the off time episodes youre experiencing. Note if they occur at the same time or sporadically. It is recommended that people with PD go to a doctor who is a movement disorders specialist. This is a specially trained neurologist who is fully educated in conditions like PD and understands the interactions of drugs used to treat the symptoms, as well as how some medications may worsen symptoms of PD.
  • Your medication dosage or timing may be changed. Your doctor may change the amount of medication youre taking or the timing of the dose. Adjustments to the dosage or timing may reduce off times.
  • The type of carbidopa/levodopa youre taking may be changed. Your doctor may change the form of therapy youre receiving. Some forms of carbidopa/levodopa are extended-release formulations that release the medication steadily for a longer period of time. There are also formulations that are available as a tablet that dissolves in your mouth or a suspension that is delivered directly into your small intestine via a tube.
  • Another medication may be added. Your doctor may add a different kind of medication to your current regimen.
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    Why Does Step Therapy Exist

    Many insurers and Pharmacy Benefits Managers use step therapy to save on prescription drug costs. They require people to try lower-cost medications in order to lower healthcare costs. And because many US states dont regulate step therapy, insurance companies can sometimes implement these processes without proving that the alternative treatments are safe or in the best interests of patients.

    Returning to our OFF and dyskinesia example: If a person with Parkinsons who is living with both conditions is required to take a tier-one, immediate-release amantadine medication, it may or may not help relieve these symptoms which it is not approved to treat. However, even if the immediate-release amantadine medication is not working, the person with Parkinsons must wait for the required fail first time period to pass. This means they are continuing to livewith disruptive symptoms that could be managed right away with the step-up medication.


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