Overview of Therapeutic Drugs and Methods for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2020;19(3):195-206. doi: 10.2174/1871527319666200525011110.


Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease involving degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of the nigrostriatal pathways. Over the past decades, most of the medications for the treatment of PD patients have been used to modulate dopamine concentrations in the basal ganglia. This includes levodopa and its inhibitory metabolizing enzymes. In addition to modulating dopamine concentrations in the brain, there are D2-like dopamine receptor agonists that mimic the action of dopamine to compensate for the deficit in dopamine found in PD patients. Muscarinic antagonists' drugs are used rarely due to some side effects. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are among the first in line, and are considered popular drugs that reduce the metabolism of dopamine in PD patients. Furthermore, we discussed in this review the existence of certain glutamate receptor antagonists for the treatment of PD. Alternatively, we further discussed the potential therapeutic role of adenosine (2A) receptor antagonists, such as tozadenant and istradefylline in the treatment of PD. We also discussed the important role of serotonin1A receptor agonist, adrenergic autoreceptors (α2) antagonists and calcium channel blockers in the treatment of PD. Finally, neurotrophic factors, such as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic growth factor and brain-derived neurotrophic factor are considered the primary factors for neuroprotection in PD.

Keywords: BDNF; Dopamine; GDNF; MAO-B; Parkinson's Disease (PD); glutamate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use
  • Basal Ganglia
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • GDNF protein, human
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Levodopa
  • BDNF protein, human
  • Dopamine