Treating the Motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease

John C. Morgan, Susan H. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: After a patient is diagnosed with Parkinson disease (PD), there are many therapeutic options available. This article provides examples of prototypical patients encountered in clinical practice and illustrates the various pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment options for the motor symptoms of PD. Recent Findings: Levodopa became available in the late 1960s and remains the gold standard for the treatment of PD even today. Since that time, amantadine, monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors, dopamine agonists, and catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors have emerged as monotherapy, add-on therapies, or both, in the armamentarium against PD. The most appropriate time to start such drugs remains a clinical decision according to patient symptoms. However, earlier use of levodopa is the more common practice due to its superior benefit and the side effects of dopamine agonists. Deep brain stimulation continues to be the most effective treatment for motor symptoms in appropriate patients, and advances in technology may improve efficacy. New ways to deliver levodopa have emerged (effective extended-release oral preparations and levodopa/carbidopa intestinal gel), and these medications provide additional options for certain patients. Exercise and neurorehabilitation are increasingly recognized as important tools to combat the motor symptoms of PD. Nondopaminergic drugs may help non-levodopa-responsive motor symptoms. Summary: Treatment of PD is multifaceted and requires a tailored pharmacotherapeutic and nonpharmacologic approach for a given patient. Patients should be at the center of care, and clinicians should try to provide optimum benefit through the many treatment options available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1085
Number of pages22
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number4,MovementDisorders
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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