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Feature Article

The challenge of Parkinson’s disease

Andrew H Evans

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Abstract

With varying patient responses to pharmacological and surgical therapies, treatment of Parkinson’s disease presents a challenge to the GP. Major advances in the management of Parkinson’s disease have recently been made and research into new therapies continues.

Key Points

  • Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition in Australia.
  • There is no reliable diagnostic test that can distinguish Parkinson’s disease from other conditions with similar presentations.
  • The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are the easiest to treat with dopaminergic drug therapies.
  • The wearing-off effect and dyskinesias are complications associated with dopaminergic drug therapies.
  • The nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically respond less well to dopaminergic drug therapies and often progress to overshadow the motor symptoms.
  • Surgical therapy for Parkinson’s disease involves deep brain stimulation, which has been found to be an effective therapy for selected patients.

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