Healthy Living

Dopamine Promoters for Parkinson's Disease

Dopamine Promoters for Parkinson's Disease

Key Takeaways

  • Because of underproduction of dopamine, Parkinson's disease patients become shaky and weak, losing control of their bodies.
  • Dopamine promoters can be used to treat Parkinson's disease by stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain and improving symptoms like muscle control.
  • Some drugs can be used together, and your doctor will help you find the best drug combination for treating your condition.

If you’re a science guru, you probably already know that dopamine is a substance in the brain necessary for the functioning of your entire body. Dopamine plays a significant role in your nervous system by helping your body execute its functions smoothly. But, there is the problem. People with Parkinson’s disease lack this vital substance in their brains.

Because of underproduction of dopamine, Parkinson's disease patients become shaky and weak, losing control of their bodies. The simple truth is motor symptoms are the cardinal features of Parkinson’s disease. In order to combat a lack of the vital substance in the brain, there are various drugs called dopamine agonists that stimulate nerve cells in your brain.

Below you will ascertain the full degree to which dopamine promoters may be beneficial to human health. They include Amantadine, Bromocriptine, Cabergoline, Carbidopa/Levodopa and Ropinirole, among others.

Bromocriptine

Brands: Cycloset, Parlodel

How it works

Bromocriptine blocks the release of a hormone known as prolactin from your pituitary gland. Bromocriptine stimulates the dopamine receptors in certain parts of your brain.

Side effects of Bromocriptine

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations – hearing things that are not there
  • Uncontrolled movements of the body, such as motions of the face, tongue, arms, hands, head, and upper body
  • Continuous or severe abdominal or stomach pain
  • Constant  urge to urinate
  • Continuous loss of appetite
  • Lower back pain
  • A continuous runny nose
  • Weakness

Amantadine

How it works

Amantadine is used to treat side effects of Parkinson’s drugs. It has the ability to improve muscle control and also has effects of reducing tremors.

Brands: Symmetrel

What are Amantadine side effects?

Side effects of amantadine include hallucinations, confusion, lightheadedness, insomnia, swelling of the ankles, and nausea.

Cabergoline

How it works

Cabergoline mimics the activity of dopamine in the brain. It helps in treating disorders due to high levels of the hormone prolactin in your blood. With certain conditions, the pituitary gland may produce the hormone in excess.

Brands: Dostinex, Cabaser 

What are Cabergoline side effects?

Side effects of cabergoline include a headache, feeling tired, dizzy, the feeling or being sick, constipation, disturbed sleep, swollen hands or feet, changes in the way you feel such as being confused, having hallucinations, indigestion, and/or uncontrollable muscle movements. 

Carbidopa/Levodopa

Levodopa is the first-line drug for managing Parkinson’s disease. It is used to treat Parkinson's disease symptoms like spasms, muscle stiffness, poor muscle control, and tremors.

How it works

It is synthesized to dopamine in the brain. Stacking Levodopa with Carbidopa kills two birds with the same stone. How? It prevents side effects of nausea and vomiting caused by Levodopa alone. Also, the addition of Carbidopa allows for a lower dose of Levodopa.

Levodopa is absorbed into your blood from your small intestines and then travels to the brain. Within the brain, it gets converted to dopamine. The neurons store it until needed by the body for movement.

There are three forms of Carbidopa/Levodopa tablets

  • Immediate release
  • Slow release
  • Dissolvable placed under the tongue

Brands: Dopar, Larodopa

What Are Carbidopa/Levodopa side effects?

Side effects include dizziness, muscle pain, drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, loss of appetite, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, stuffy nose, cough, other cold symptoms, numbness or tingly feeling, sneezing, trouble sleeping, (insomnia or strange dreams), skin rash, itching, and headache.

Ropinirole

How it works

It works by improving your sleep and at the same time lowering the urge to move your legs. And the best part is that it decreases unpleasant feelings in the legs. When you take Ropinirole, it tries to balance the dopamine in your brain.

Brands: Requip, Requip XL, Requip Starter Kit, ReQuip 

Benefits and effects

What are Ropinirole side effects?

Side effects of ropinirole are anxiety, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, worsening RLS symptoms in the morning, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, sweating, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, sleep problems, chest pain, agitation, flushing, weakness, leg swelling, high or low blood pressure, lightheadedness or fainting, muscle spasms, spinning sensations, abdominal pain, indigestion, gas, numbness, palpitations, fast heart rate, sore throat, urinary tract infection, or vision problems.

Entacapone

How it works

It inhibits the action of enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase in your body. What this means is the amount of levodopa to be passed to the brain increases with every dose of levodopa/benserazide or levodopa/carbidopa. The enzyme breaks down levodopa in the body.

Brands: Comtan

What are Entacapone side effects?

  • Feeling tired or sleepy
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation and stomach ache
  • Feeling confused
  • Seeing or hearing things, unreal things
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Increased sweating

Tolcapone

Tolcapone has recently been removed from the market in some countries because of presumed hepatic toxicity. It can cause liver problems.

How it works

Tolcapone increases the effectiveness of the levodopa you take in co-beneldopa or co-careldopa. Usually, a doctor prescribes it for people who have had Parkinson's disease for a while and whose symptoms worsen between medicine doses.

Tolcapone is stacked with levodopa and carbidopa in the treatment of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Brands: Tasmar

What are Tolcapone side effects?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Unwanted/uncontrolled movements

Pramipexole

Pramipexole is used for restless syndrome.

How it works

Pramipexole mimics the activity of dopamine. It restores dopamine activity by acting as a dopamine substitute in your brain and therefore it helps relieve symptoms of Parkinson's.

Brands:  Mirapex, Mirapex ER

What are Pramipexole side effects?

  • Need to urinate all the time
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal body movements and motions
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty urinating or having pain when urinating
  • Dizziness

Rotigotine

How it works

Rotigotine stimulates the receptor sites so as to produce the effect of dopamine and restore its balance in your brain.

Brands: Neupro

What are Rotigotine side effects?

  • Headache
  • Feeling or being sick      
  • Skin reactions or itching where the patch has been applied
  • Feeling drowsy or sleepy, including falling asleep suddenly
  • Feeling dizzy or faint (due to changes in your blood pressure)
  • Difficulties sleeping, abnormal thinking and behavior, the sensation of having a 'thumping heart' (palpitations), hiccups, constipation, loss of weight, swollen legs and ankles, feeling irritable, indigestion
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Impulsive types of behavior

Reviews

Here are the drug reviews of three Parkinson's patients.

Tito was freshly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He has been on Mirapex but after a month of treatment, he had to stay away because of the severe side effects he experienced such as auditory hallucinations, peripheral edema, muscle pain, nausea, intense dreams and the worst trouble sleeping. He used to get up more often. He ultimately couldn't tolerate the side effects.

John has been on Neupro patches for about 3 weeks. They have really helped him a lot. He has not been able to take any oral medications, because they make him very nauseous. He is taking 2 mg. So far, no side effects have been experienced.

Christina has used Neupro for 5 months now, in combination with Azilect. The neurologist increased the dosage from 2mg to 6mg. Her tremors and motor skills coordination are definitely more under control. She has no significant side effects.

Closing thoughts

Doctors prescribe medication for PD after judging the benefits you will receive from them. Risks may be minimized if you inform your doctor in time about any serious side effects.

The Levodopa drug, for instance, has brought enormous motor benefits to patients. Unfortunately, like most of the drugs, the effects of Levodopa are purely symptomatic. However, due to many years of research, there has been an improvement in the safety profile.