Medications

While there is no cure for Parkinson's disease (PD), symptoms can be treated with medications.  There is no “right” answer as to when you should start or adjust your medication regimen.  Work with your movement disorder specialist or neurologist along the way.  Here are some resources to understand medication options and how to manage medications.


Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars


Downloadable Documents (PDF)

Current Medications Approved for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease in the US

Published by American Parkinson Disease Association, Updated 2015

This 2-page PDF lists all the medications available in the US for the treatment of PD. Listed are the generic name, brand name, mode of action, and common side effects.
En Español: Lista de Medicamentos Aprobados en Estados Unidos para el Tratamiento de la Enfermedad de Parkinson


Managing Parkinson’s Mid-Stride, A Treatment Guide to Parkinson’s Disease

Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), 2017

This 44-page book (PDF) explains why symptoms may get better and worse throughout the day and how to treat an scope with them.  Find answers and read tips and stories that can help.


Medical Management of Parkinson's Disease

Published by American Parkinson Disease Association, Revised July 2012

This 6-page educational supplement (PDF) reviews the six categories of medications used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's.


Parkinson's Disease Medications

Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), Revised 2016

This 80-page booklet reviews medications for motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Plus it discusses the idea that "exercise is medicine" and has a chapter on complementary therapies.
En Español: Medicamentos para la Enfermedad de Parkinson


Online Articles

Treatment - Medication

Published by American Parkinson Disease Association

This short webpage lists some considerations involved in medication decisions.


Podcasts & Webinars

Managing the Motor Symptoms in PD

Published by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), March 11, 2014

In this one-hour webinar, movement disorder specialist Sotirios Parashos, MD, PhD reviews the motor symptoms of Parkinson's, such as tremor, bradykinesia, and dystonia. He also explains how medications work to ease these symptoms.  
Presenter's slides


Maximizing PD Medications: Get the Most Out of Your Treatment Plan

Published by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation), April 28, 2015

In this one-hour Expert Briefing webinar, movement disorder specialist Connie Marras, MD, PhD reviews the classes of medication for PD and explains what effects (good and bad) can be expected from them. She also discusses how to maximize the effectiveness of PD medications and minimize the side effects.  
Presenter's slides


Medication Management in Parkinson’s

By Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, February 19, 2020

This one-hour webinar on drug therapy in Parkinson’s disease (PD) featured speaker Greta Mah, a clinical pharmacist in Canada. She provided a general overview of medications used in PD within the US as well as in Canada, describing the main categories of drug therapy often used in PD, which may be a helpful refresher for some readers. We at Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach listened to the webinar and are sharing our notes.  Note there is a recording error.  Audio begins three minutes into the webinar.
Webinar Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog


My Parkinson's Story: Medications

Published by the Veteran's Administration

This 8-minute video alternates between an interview with a man and his wife and doctors. The man and his wife share how medications controll his Parkinson's symptoms. The doctors explain how Parkinson's symptoms are controlled by dopamine replacement therapy, "On" and "Off" periods, the importance of taking medications on time every day and medication side effects.


Parkinson’s 101: Know Your PD Meds

By Jasmine Sturr on YouTube, May 20, 2016.

This 26-minute video is a comprehensive overview of parkinson’s medications.  Ms. Sturr was diagnosed with Juvenile Parkinson’s.  She has a bachelor’s in chemistry.  This video is a guide for patients to understand the options, how they work, and why your doctor is prescribing them.


PD and Medication: What’s New?

Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation, April 14, 2020

In just over an hour movement disorder specialist Dr. Fernando Pagan outlines what we know about  epidemiology, causes, risk factors, incidences, genetics, DaTScan imaging, etc. about Parkinson’s disease (PD), before going into great detail about medication treatment options. There is brief mention about DBS and the future of Parkinson’s therapies.


PD101: Medications and Treatments

Published by Parkinson Association of the Rockies, May 7, 2020

In this nearly 2-hour webinar, movement disorder specialist Dr. Luisa Solis-Cohen does a deep dive into the different types of medications used to treat Parkinson’s and how they work within the body.


Parkinson’s Disease - Introduction to Treatment

Published by Panorama Patient Network, 2017

In this 12-minute video, neurologist Matthew Stern, MD, explains how Parkinson’s disease is often best treated with a mix of medications.  Using low doses minimizes the risk of long-term side effects.  In the second half of the video, neurologist Susan Fox, PhD, discusses the importance of lifestyle in dealing with Parkinson’s disease, emphasizing the importance of sleep and exercise.


Spotlight on Addressing Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms - The Changing Landscape

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, May 8, 2017

In this 1-hour webinar Dr. David Standaert starts with the basics of PD before giving a good update on cutting-edge medications and DBS therapies for the management of Parkinson’s disease.  He introduces newly approved medications for motor fluctuation, orthostatic hypotension and hallucinations, and new DBS technology for tremor.  Finally getting in to what’s coming soon, and the direction of several avenues of research into slowing and/or stopping disease progression.


Treatment of Motor Fluctuations

Published by Panorama Patient Network, 2017

In this 10-minute video, neurologist Matthew Stern, MD, talks with a patient about how to minimize motor fluctuations by fine-tuning low-dose medications. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is also mentioned.



Last updated August 2020 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach.