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There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Treatment at this time is based on addressing the symptoms. There are six types of medication available: anticholinergics, amantidine, L-dopa, dopamine agonists, MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and COMT-I (catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors).
L-dopa is the precursor of dopamine, the brain chemical deficient in Parkinson's disease. Though still the mainstay of Parkinson's therapy, it is not without its own problems; long-term complications include fluctuations in effectiveness, abnormal movements ('dyskinesias') and psychiatric manifestations such as hallucinations.
It is common practice at this time for younger patients to be tried on dopamine agonists first, on account of the fact that they have shown to delay the onset of early dyskinsias and fluctuations. As they have also been shown to be less effective and less well tolerated than L-dopa, older and less healthy patients are started on L-dopa at the onset.