Parkinson’s disease: Is the initial treatment established?
- Cite this article as:
- Ahlskog, J.E. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2003) 3: 289. doi:10.1007/s11910-003-0005-1
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Recent studies have suggested that initial dopamine agonist therapy with pramipexole or ropinirole may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and also reduce the subsequent risk of levodopa motor complications. This presumed effect on PD progression, however, could be artifactual, resulting from the influence of chronic drug treatment on regulation of dopamine system proteins. With respect to levodopa motor complications, there is no dispute that pramipexole and ropinirole are effective in reducing levodopa dyskinesias and motor fluctuations; however, it is not clear that they must be started early, as opposed to initiation only after the levodopa complications develop. Levodopa therapy has numerous advantages that include greater efficacy, much lesser expense, simpler administration, and a lower frequency of hallucinosis and somnolence. Carbidopa/levodopa, pramipexole, and ropinirole are all appropriate first choices in the treatment of PD.