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Dopaminergic agents and drugs are used primarily in treating Parkinson’s disease and its related motor function abnormalities. Certain Dopaminergic medicine may have benefits for patients with cerebral palsy as well, though studies have only been done in their success and effects on Parkinson’s patients.
A major symptom and side effect of cerebral palsy is abnormal movements (also known as dystonia, or dyskinesia, depending on the symptoms and other factors). Generally, these movements are due to the misfiring of chemicals in the brain that causes a slight yet uncontrollable muscle spasming. At times, or in different patients, these movements can be severely disabling.
Dopaminergic medicine is also used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS) which causes uncontrolled leg movements. Two major dopaminergic drugs, which may prove to be helpful in cerebral palsy patients, are Sinemet and Artane.
Sinemet is a dopaminergic medicine combination of two other drugs: L-dopa and carbidopa. Sinemet has been used successfully for some time in treating abnormal movements in Parkinson’s children.
Sinemet and other dopamine agonists have been long used to treat dyskinesia. Combination treatments are frequent as well, and are usually determined by the severity or frequency of the movements in the cerebral palsy child. They are usually given at an early age because there have been some frequent serious side effects in the elderly when using dopaminergic medicine for cerebral palsy or any other disease.
These anticholinergic and dopaminergic medicines block cholinergic nerve impulses that affect the muscles in the arms, legs, and other parts of the body. These medications help regulate muscle movement and motor function.
Cerebral palsy patients using dopaminergic medication may suffer from relapses during the treatment phase. The overall effect, however, does tend to exhibit some amount of improvement in stemming abnormal body movements. Sometimes these movements may be caused by an excess of dopamine, and sometimes by an absence of the brain chemical. These medications can help balance the dopamine levels in the brain that would result in greater motor skill ability.
It is important to stress that long-term studies have not been done on dopaminergic medicine to treat cerebral palsy. The medications have shown significant results in similar symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, however. These results have led to a greater interest in using dopaminergic medication in treatments for cerebral palsy.
You should discuss all possible options with your doctor when considering any type of treatment for cerebral palsy. Your particular case may warrant extensive investigation before any significant diagnoses can be made or medication prescribed.