For many years, levodopa has given most patients with Parkinson's disease excellent symptomatic benefit. This agent does not slow down the progression of the disease, however, and it can induce motor fluctuations and dyskinesias in the long term. The other available antiparkinsonian agents also have drawbacks, and as a consequence research into antiparkinsonian drugs is expected to take new and different directions in the coming years. The most promising approaches include the development of 'neuroprotective' drugs that are capable of blocking or at least slowing down the degenerative process that is responsible for cellular death; 'restorative' strategies intended to restore normal brain function; more-effective agents for replacing dopamine loss; and symptomatic and antidyskinetic drugs that act on neurotransmitters other than dopamine or target brain areas other than the striatum. In this Review, we discuss the numerous drugs in development that target the primary motor disorder in Parkinson's disease.
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