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Parkinson Disease Without Medication: What's the Prognosis?

Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, MD · Neurology · Centre Médicale Internationale

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 25, 2022

    Parkinson Disease Without Medication: What's the Prognosis?

    For one reason or another, people with Parkinson Disease might opt to manage Parkinson without medication. In this case, alternative forms of treatment are employed. But what effect does stopping medication have? And what alternatives are available? Read on to learn more.

    Parkinson Disease Without Medication

    There are a number of reasons why patients with Parkinson Disease would choose to stop the medication. They might be interested in alternative forms of treatment, or perhaps they can’t afford the daily cost of medication. While for others, the medication might not be as effective anymore, so they deem it better to stop taking them entirely.

    Whatever the reason, it is important to understand what medication does and what problems could appear if a person stops taking their medication.

    What is Parkinson Medication for?

    Before we talk about the alternative forms of managing Parkinson without medication, we first need to understand what it is exactly that the medication does.

    Doctors have found that patients with Parkinson Disease tend to have low levels of dopamine in the brain. It is believed that the low levels of dopamine might be responsible for some of the symptoms that patients experience.

    A combination drug called carbidopa/levodopa is the most common medication for Parkinson Disease treatment/ management. Levodopa is a naturally occurring chemical that turns into dopamine in the brain. Carbidopa, on the other hand, is a drug that prevents levodopa from turning into dopamine before the brain absorbs it.

    Patients might also take drugs that can prevent the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. These drugs act hand-in-hand with carbidopa/levodopa to increase their effectiveness.

    What Happens if a Patient Stops Taking Medication?

    The main goal of Parkinson medication is not to completely stop or cure Parkinson Disease. What medication does is slows down the effects of the disease and improves the person’s quality of life.

    This means that when a patient stops medication, they might experience an increase in their symptoms. This means that they might find it even more difficult to move around or care for themselves.

    In terms of lifespan, patients who don’t take medication live almost as long as those who take medication.

    However, patients who are not medicated also have other options. While these are not as effective, these do help in slowing down the patient’s symptoms and making sure they remain healthy.

    What are the Alternatives?

    Here are some alternative forms of treatment for Parkinson Disease:

    Lifestyle changes

    Making lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier or engaging in more physical activity, can help slow down the effect of Parkinson. In fact, patients who are still taking medication are recommended to make lifestyle changes as it has been seen to improve a patient’s overall health.

    These lifestyle changes include eating more fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish as well as avoiding processed foods, meat, and sugary foods.

    It’s also a good idea for patients to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. This helps maintain their strength and mobility.

    Parkinson's without medication

    Nutritional supplements

    Aside from eating healthy, some nutritional supplements can help with Parkinson Disease. In particular, calcium supplements are important for patients.

    Alternative medicine

    There are also alternative forms of medicine available for people with Parkinson Disease. These include massage therapy and acupuncture.

    Massage therapy helps patients in relieving side-effects such as tremors, muscle rigidity, and also alleviates pain. Though patients need to undergo massage therapy often to maintain its effects.

    Acupuncture is another form of alternative medicine for Parkinson Disease. It can help relieve pain, fatigue, and improves sleep.  Studies done on animals have shown acupuncture that it helps slow down the degeneration of neurons. However, these have yet to be done on humans.

    It is important to remember that when choosing alternative therapy, it is best to consult a doctor first. They can provide insight into how effective certain forms of treatment can be and what long-term effects to expect if a patient stops medication.

    Learn more about Parkinson Disease here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Nicole Aliling, MD

    Neurology · Centre Médicale Internationale

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 25, 2022

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