Levodopa was and is a wonder drug for Parkinson's disease. It effectively eliminates the major motor symptoms of PD and gets you moving again. But sometimes it creates other motor problems known as dyskinesias; meaning, it gets you moving too much. Scientists are working on new drugs that can effectively treat the motor symptoms of PD without creating dyskinesias.
Levodopa-induced dyskinesias are sometimes so severe that a person needs surgery so that doctors can shut down the part of the brain that is thought to produce the dyskinesias. The development of a drug or therapy that could effectively treat motor symptoms of PD (like levodopa) without inducing dyskineasias (unlike levodopa) is therefore sorely needed. Currently, amantadine is the only drug that reliably reduces dyskinesia without worsening the motor symptoms of PD, but the drug has other side effects that are undesirable and its motor benefits do not last long.
Coping with Dyskenisias
- If you have dyskinesias, speak to your PD doctor about them. Ask if medication adjustments might help. Sometimes a reduction in levodopa dose or a switch to a continuous release form of levodopa will help.
- If medication adjustments do not work, then speak to your doctor about other forms of therapy, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS)
Source: Olanow CW, Stern MB, Sethi K. 2009. The scientific and clinical basis for the treatment of Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2009 May 26;72(21 Suppl 4):S1-136. Review.
Olanow CW, Stern MB, Sethi K. 2009. The scientific and clinical basis for the treatment of Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2009 May 26;72(21 Suppl 4):S1-136. Review.