Although there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, the primary medical treatment consists of providing a drug called L-dopa (levodopa), which can be converted in the brain to dopamine (Clayman 1989). In addition, there are a variety of dopamine-sparing drugs and dopamine receptor-stimulating drugs. However, treatment with these types of drugs is not always effective, particularly in advanced conditions.
The most commonly used levodopa drug is Sinemet. Sinemet contains the decarboxylase inhibitor carbidopa to prevent deactivation of L-dopa before it reaches the brain.
Eldepryl (deprenyl) is a selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that slows the breakdown of dopamine in the brain, thereby initially reducing the need for levodopa by up to 30%. This effect diminishes with time. Therefore, in the early stages of Parkinson's disease, Eldepryl alone may alleviate symptoms. Eldepryl is also used in combination with Sinemet, particularly when Sinemet no longer seems to be working well. At this stage, Eldepryl has no effect when taken by itself and works only in combination with Sinemet (PDR 2002). Deprenyl and selegiline hydrochloride are generic names for Eldepryl.
There is some evidence that the generic drug deprenyl has a protective effect on brain cells when compared to levodopa, which appears to lead to more rapid deterioration (Mytilineou et al. 1993; Tipton 1994; Pardo et al. 1995; Wu et al. 1995; Liou et al. 2001). While deprenyl has received some bad publicity in recent years, it is now clear that deprenyl is safe in combination with levodopa.
Supplementation with nutrients has reported benefits for persons with Parkinson's disease. These supplements include amino acids, antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, folic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, octacosanol, phosphatidylserine, NADH, and the European drug Hydergine (Snider 1984; Yapa 1992; Mizuta et al. 1993; Schulz et al. 1995; 1996; Shults et al. 1997; 1998; 1999; Beal et al. 1998; Golbe et al. 1998; Sakagami et al. 1998; Seitz et al. 1998; Beal 1999; Jimenez-Jimenez et al. 2000; Kidd 2000; Nadlinger et al. 2001; Roghani et al 2001; Ross 2001; Tan et al. 2001; Zisapel 2001; Antolin et al. 2002; Chen et al. 2002; Duan et al. 2002).