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Parkinson Disease Dementia (cont.)

Parkinson's Disease Dementia Medical Treatment and Medications

There is no specific therapy for dementia in Parkinson's disease. Although cognitive symptoms initially may appear to respond to drugs that promote dopamine production, the improvement is mild and transient in contrast to the early responses to motor control improvement with medication in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease dementia medications

Various medications are used to treat the movement disorders of Parkinson's disease, some may exacerbate symptoms related to dementia.

  • These include dopamine given in the form of levodopa; medications known as dopamine agonists (for example, a combination of carbidopa and levodopa known as Sinemet) that act on the dopamine receptor; and medications that slow down the metabolism of dopamine. They are often used in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO B,) such as rasagiline. In addition, anticholinergic drugs are sometimes used.
  • Unfortunately, these drugs may affect cognitive symptoms and mood disorders.
  • The anticholinergic drugs, for example, help balance levels of dopamine and acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter, in the brain. These drugs can improve movement disorders but often make memory loss worse.

The dementia of Parkinson's disease may respond to drugs used in patients with Alzheimer's disease. However, these drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors (such as donepezil [Aricept], rivastigmine [Exelon], galantamine [Reminyl]), lead to only small and temporary improvements in cognition.

Mood disorders and psychoses are usually treated with other medication(s).

  • For depression and mood disorders, various antidepressant or mood-stabilizing medications, such as tricyclic agents (such as nortriptyline [Pamelor] or desipramine [Norpramin]) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, such as fluoxetine [Paxil] or citalopram [Celexa]) are used.
  • For agitation or psychotic symptoms, atypical antipsychotics are preferred. Clozapine (Clozaril) is often the first choice, but it may have intolerable adverse effects. Quetiapine (Seroquel) may be an alternative. Olanzapine (Zyprexa) and risperidone (Risperdal) tend to worsen motor function.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

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Parkinson Disease Dementia »

Parkinson disease (Parkinson's disease, PD) is a disabling, progressive condition that is predominantly thought of as a movement disorder.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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