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Parkinson's Disease: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Basics Treament: The aim of most popular Parkinson's treatments are to restore proper balance of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine. This is usually done with medication, but some patients are candidates for implantation of a deep brain stimulator or DBS.

Alternative Treatment Options : Since there isn’t any known cure for Parkinson's disease, but it can be managed -- the symptoms of the disease can be relieved or reduced.

Known Parkinson's Medications: The two general approaches to treating Parkinson's disease via medication are: first attempt is to increase levels of dopamine in the brain; the second attempt is to improve by other means.

Surgery : Generally, surgery is only considered as a treatment for Parkinson's disease when medication cannot adequately control symptoms. Two surgical approaches used for Parkinson's are pallidotomy and thalamotomy.

Deep Brain Stimulation: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a way to inactivate parts of the brain that cause the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Gamma Knife Treatment: Not actually a 'knife' at all, the gamma knife is a machine that emits hundreds of powerful, highly focused gamma radiation beams. It allows for a more precise and concentrated treatment than with other radiation treatments.

Alternative Treatment Options: Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and uric acid are among alternative treatments that have been studied as treatments for Parkinson's disease. However, they were not found to be effective.

Parkinson's Disease Research: Some Parkinson’s disease treatments currently being studied involve fetal cell transplantation, the use of stem cells, and gene therapy.

How is the treatment done?

Medications is only limited to help you manage problems with walking, movement and tremor. These medications increase or substitute for dopamine, a specific signaling chemical (neurotransmitter) in your brain. People with Parkinson's disease have low brain dopamine concentrations. However, dopamine can't be given directly, as it can't enter your brain. You may have significant improvement of your symptoms after beginning Parkinson's disease treatment. Over time, however, the benefits of drugs frequently diminish or become less consistent, although symptoms usually can continue to be fairly well-controlled.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Deep brain stimulation - a surgical procedure used to treat several disabling neurological symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, stiffness, slowed movement and walking difficulties. An electrode is implanted deep inside the brain, where movement is controlled. A pacemaker-like device (neurostimulator), which controls the amount of stimulation delivered by the electrode, is placed under the skin in the upper chest. A wire travels under the skin and connects the neurostimulator to the electrode. Electrical impulses are sent from the neurostimulator, along the wire, and into the brain via the electrode. They interfere with the electrical signals that cause symptoms, effectively blocking them. Deep brain stimulation is generally used when the patient is in the advance stages of Parkinson’s disease, and has unstable medication responses. The procedure has some risks, including brain hemorrhage and infection. Patients who do not respond to carbidopa-levodopa therapy do not benefit from deep brain stimulation.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Deep brain stimulation is most often offered to people with advanced Parkinson's disease who have unstable medication (levodopa) responses. DBS can stabilize medication fluctuations, reduce or halt involuntary movements (dyskinesias), reduce tremor, reduce rigidity, and improve slowing of movement. DBS is effective in controlling erratic and fluctuating responses to levodopa or for controlling dyskinesias that don't improve with medication adjustments.

Are there any side effects?

Unfortunately, it can cause side effects, like nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and low blood pressure. If you take levodopa over a long period of time, you may experience involuntary twisting or writhing movements (dyskinesia), and possibly psychotic delusions or hallucinations. Their most common side effect of COMT inhibitors is diarrhea. They may also lead to sleep disturbances, dizziness, or hallucinations. Side effects of anticholinergics may include dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, or confusion. People who take levodopa for 3-5 years may eventually have restlessness, confusion, or unusual movements within a few hours of taking the medicine. Changes in the amount or timing of your dose will usually prevent these side effects.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The available guidelines for clinicians for the eligibility for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the main conditions in which these forms of therapy are generally indicated-Parkinson's disease (PD), tremor, and dystonia-is presented. In general, the literature shows that DBS is effective for PD, essential tremor, and idiopathic dystonia. In these cases, key points in patient selection must include the level of disability and inability to manage symptoms using the best available medical therapy. Overall, currently available literature is able to guide physicians on basic aspects of patient selection and indications for DBS; however, a few points are still debatable and controversial.

How long does it take to recover?

The recovery time depends on the condition of the patient and cannot be predicted by the doctor beforehand without running a few tests on the patient.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Information not available

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

If the treatment is followed as prescribed by the doctor then the results show a huge improvement in the patients life.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Other then DBS or medicaion there are no known alternatives for this treatment.

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