It is important that people with Parkinson’s disease receive the optimal treatment as soon as possible to efficiently act against symptoms such as tremors and stiffness. The standard treatment includes Levodopa, a medication that replaces the dopamine. However, due to the progression of the disease over time, the medication effect gets more unstable, also related to varying levels of medication in the blood, which then causes fluctuations (dyskinesia or freezing).
In order to best treat the symptoms and improve the quality of life, no matter the stage of the disease, there are advanced therapies available from which patients can benefit.
Advanced therapies for Parkinson’s disease
Instead of pills, Levodopa (L-Dopa) medication can also be introduced in gel form directly into the gut, via a tube connected to a pump. This procedure guarantees that the amount of active substances in the organism remains constant and it does not depend on the gastric emptying, which is often disturbed by the disease. Once inserted, the tube is well tolerated. Regular check-ups done by trained health professionals can assure the right functioning and cleanliness of the system.
A Levodopa gut pump may not be the best choice for all patients. Another option is the apomorphine treatment which is injected under the skin either with a pen or as a pump that can be worn during the day. The Apomorphine pump needs to be placed every day, but it is an easy and painless process that one can get used quickly to it. Once connected, the pump works independently and ensures a constant flow of medication.
If fluctuations of the motor functions interfere with the quality of life or if tremors are not responding well anymore to medication, Deep Brain Stimulation is another therapeutic option, that uses electrical current for treating symptoms. An electrode is implanted in a specific region of the brain to regulate the signal transmission between the cells. Once inserted, the stimulation will function autonomously, and the patient has to only come for a check-up every 6 months. More than 200 000 people around the world have already benefited from this treatment.
Additional ways to increase the quality of life
Other ways to increase your quality of life are physical, occupational and/or speech therapies. It is important that they are offered by professionals specifically trained for people with Parkinson’s disease. ParkinsonNet Luxembourg, an integrated healthcare network, consists of such healthcare professionals to ensure optimal treatment for the patients. ParkinsonNet Luxembourg has been active in Luxembourg since 2017 and there is already a nation-wide network of therapists.
Find out more information on how these advanced therapies work and actually look like by watching the video below. The video not only brings together healthcare professionals, but also testimonials from people with Parkinson’s disease who have been benefitting from such therapies.
- Check out the “Physiotherapy and Parkinson’s disease” series
- Find a specialised physiotherapist in your area!