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Deep brain stimulation (DBS) helps control your movement symptoms when your medications aren't working as well as they used to. For many people with Parkinson's, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging. DBS has helped some people stay as independent as possible and keep doing the activities they love.
DBS therapy extends the control you already get from your medication for movement symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Here you can find out about the benefits of DBS therapy and safety considerations. It’s very important to mention that the success of Medtronic DBS depends on:
85–89% of people with Parkinson’s have clinically meaningful and significant improvement with Medtronic DBS therapy.1
Good movement control means no troubling symptoms like shaking, stiffness, and difficulty moving. DBS therapy can provide up to five additional hours of good movement control without dyskinesia per day, compared with medication alone.*2,3,4
What would you do with five additional hours every day?
*Measured by the UPDRS IV
DBS therapy has been CE marked and approved by the FDA to treat the movement symptoms of Parkinson’s: shaking, stiffness, and difficulty moving.
Medtronic DBS therapy reduces complications of drug therapy, such as dyskinesia and fluctuations in “on” and “off” time.3,4,5,6
Medtronic DBS therapy reduces complications of drug therapy by 37% to 61% compared to medication alone.4,5
Without DBS, people receiving best medical therapy (BMT) experience between a 5.4% reduction to a 13% increase in drug-related complications compared with their baseline.4,5
DBS therapy is an implanted solution that provides more relief, not more medication. Many people with Parkinson’s disease take multiple doses of multiple medications.
Keeping track of medications can be difficult. Some find that they must increase the number and frequency of doses to get the same relief. Others find that the more medications they take, the less the medications seem to work.
DBS is not a medication and it does not contain medication. In many cases, DBS therapy helps patients reduce the amount of their Parkinson’s drugs by up to 50%.2
75% of patients preferred DBS to medical therapy alone considering the PDQ-39.*2
DBS therapy improves quality of life by 13% to 26% compared to before receiving DBS.**2,5 Improved quality of life includes things such as feeling better emotionally, feeling less embarrassed in public, moving about more easily, and having less physician discomfort. In the same studies, patients receiving best medical therapy (BMT) without DBS showed no improvement in quality of life compared with their baseline.
*Per protocol analysis
** Based on PDQ-39 single indexine
DBS therapy can make routine daily activities easier, such as writing clearly, drinking, getting dressed, and bathing.
The electrical stimulation of DBS therapy can be changed as Parkinson's progresses. No further surgery is necessary to make adjustments.
DBS therapy is not permanent so future treatment options remain open. The DBS system can be turned off or removed at your discretion.
DBS therapy works 24 hours a day with minimal maintenance or effort. Unlike an external drug pump, DBS therapy does not require removal at night, cleaning, refilling or maintenance upon awakening in the morning.*
*Maintenance is required for rechargeable systems
These before and after videos show how DBS therapy helps control movement. Please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to these particular people. Responses to the treatment discussed can and do vary and are specific to the individual patient.
DBS for Parkinson’s: Richard’s Story - (14:15)
Richard and his wife Karen share their experiences of life before DBS and after.
More information (see more) Less information (see less)
Medtronic supplemental analysis: supplement to EPDA website update re patient barriers and claims-v17-Sept-2015
The 'gold standard' of evaluating the success rate of DBS is based on the overall motor function evaluation using the UPDRS III scale. The scientifically accepted method for evaluation of the MCIC (minimally clinically important change) is at least 5 points in the UPDRS III scale. The evaluation of 'off medication' allows reflection of the impact of DBS, albeit an artificially created 'off' condition. It has not been typically reported in the publications, but we have completed the above additional analyses of the databases available in both the published evidence (only randomised control trials have been considered for this). The above analysis works for Medtronic devices only.
Deuschl G, Schade-Brittinger C, Krack P, et al. A randomized trial of deep-brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease. NEngl J Med. 2006;355(9):896-908.
Okun MS, Foote KD. Parkinson’s disease DBS: what, when, who and why? The time has come to tailor DBS targets. Expert Rev Neurother. 2010 December ; 10(12): 1847–1857.
Weaver FM, Follett KA, Stern M, et al. Bilateral deep brain stimulation vs. best medical therapy for patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. JAMA. 2009;301(1):63-73.
Schüpbach W, Rau J, Knudsen K, Volkmann J, Krack P, Timmermann L, et al. Neurostimulation for Parkinson’s disease with early motor complications. EARLYSTIM Study. N Eng J Med. 2013;368:610-622.
Williams A, Gill S, Varma T, et al. Deep brain stimulation plus best medical therapy versus best medical therapy alone for advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD SURG trial): randomized, open-label trial. Lancet Neurol. 2010;581-591.