When Is the Right Time for DBS?

Parkinson's symptoms get worse over time. The right time for DBS is when medications alone aren't providing enough relief, but still have some effect. The right time to talk with your doctor about DBS is now — so you know all your options and can act at the right time.


YOUR CHANGING THERAPY NEEDS

You're probably taking medications to help control movement symptoms like tremor (shaking), slowed movement (bradykinesia), and stiffness (rigidity).

One common Parkinson's medication, levodopa (for example Sinemet*), is typically very effective at first, but less so over time. As Parkinson's progresses, doctors prescribe more or different medications, and have you take them more often. The higher doses may not bring the relief you need and can lead to side effects like nausea, dizziness, or unintended movements (dyskinesia).


WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER DBS?

The right time for DBS is when your medications still work, but not as well as they used to.

Watch for these signs that your medications are not working as well as they used to:

  • You have movement symptoms like tremor and stiffness for more hours a day.
  • After you take a dose, you wait longer for your medications to work.
  • The medications' effects wear off between doses.
  • You have to take medications more often, including during the night.
  • You need a higher dose to get the same effect.
  • Side effects of your medications are becoming a problem for you.

“One day I could do needlework — the next day I couldn't. At one point I was taking the maximum amount of drugs and feeling groggy and nauseous all the time.”

— Karen

View Her Story

WHEN IS DBS A TREATMENT OPTION?

Research now shows that deep brain stimulation may be appropriate for people who have had Parkinson's for at least 4 years and at least 4 months of movement symptoms not well controlled by medications or medication side effects such as unintended movements (dyskinesia).1

Why wait? Talk to your doctor about DBS before your symptoms are disabling.

DBS therapy continues to be appropriate for people in a more advanced stage of Parkinson's disease, and there is no upper age limit restriction.2

If you wait until your medications no longer help, DBS will no longer be an option — so don't think of DBS as "a last resort." Instead of just putting DBS off until someday in the future, talk with your doctor about it now. That way, you will be ready to start at the right time.


HEAR HOW OTHERS DECIDED IT WAS THEIR RIGHT TIME FOR DBS.

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Which profile describes you?

The patient profile examples below can help you determine if DBS may be a treatment option. Select the profile that sounds most like you—even if only a few descriptions fit.


* Sinemet is a registered trademark of Merck and Co., Inc.


References

  1. Schuepbach WMM, Rau J, Knudsen K, et al. Neurostimulation for Parkinson's disease with early motor complications. N Engl J Med. February 14, 2013;368:610-22 7.
  2. Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.

A NEUROLOGIST WHO SPECIALIZES IN MOVEMENT DISORDERS CAN EVALUATE WHETHER IT IS TIME FOR DBS.

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