Fatigue in PD

Fatigue can be described as a deep tiredness that does not improve with rest.  It is a non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s Disease (PD)and can interfere with the effective management of PD symptoms, since fatigued people are less inclined to exercise and socialize.  Here are some resources to understand fatigue and how to cope with it.

Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars | Expert-level Resources

Downloadable Documents (PDF)

Fatigue and Parkinson’s

Published by the Parkinson’s Foundation, 2019

This 3-page fact sheet (PDF) defines fatigue and outlines several causes of fatigue in PD.  It suggests ways to work with your healthcare provider to manage fatigue, including current research results showing what is (and isn’t) effective in treating fatigue.  Some tips to maximize energy and endurance are included.

Fatigue and Parkinson’s

Published by Parkinson’s UK, January 2014

This 5-page fact sheet (PDF) identifies the symptoms of fatigue, its frequency among those with Parkinson’s disease, the possible causes of fatigue in Parkinson’s disease, treatments, coping strategies that include addressing sleep issues, depression and apathy.

Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, 2019

This 2-page fact sheet (PDF) describes how fatigue manifests itself in Parkinson’s disease and its detrimental effect on quality of life.  Some aspects may be treatable by improving sleep, altering Parkinson’s medications, treating depression, or through exercise.
En Español: La fatiga en la enfermedad de Párkinson

Online Articles

Coping with Fatigue in PD

By Maria De León, MD.  Published by defeatparkinsons.com, May 28, 2013

Fatigue can make motor symptoms, like tremors, seem like they are worst when they are not.  Dr. De León has a list of eight things you can do to prevent or improve fatigue,  If you still have severe fatigue discuss it with your physician because there are some medications which can help.  The key is well adjusted medications, exercise, good nutrition, and rest at least 5 minutes every day.


Published by the Parkinson's Foundation

This information sheet describes the importance of finding ways to cope with fatique in Parkinson's disease, thereby avoiding reduced work hours, or social activities, and maintaining a good quality of life. Symptoms, therapies, and tips for coping with fatigue are briefly outlined.

How to Cope with Disabling Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

By Patrick McNamara, PhD.  Published by verywell.com, November 13, 2016

This short webpage emphasizes fatigue is a major symptom of Parkinson’s disease.  Failing to treat it undermines your overall health and can be socially isolating.  It recommends exercise,  possibly an anti-depressant and/or stimulants, and specific life-style adjustments to better cope.

Symptoms - Fatigue

Published by ParkinsonsDisease.net

This short page defines fatigue and summarizes causes of fatigue in Parkinson’s disease, how to assess fatigue in Parkinson’s disease and treatment suggestions.

Podcasts & Webinars


Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

By Vanderbilt Health, November 22, 2016

This 23-minute video lecture recommends being extremely specific in describing what you experience as fatigue to your doctor to best determine how to treat it.  Treatment options should address sleep issues, exercise, re-evaluate all medications, treat low blood pressure, treat depression or anxiety, eliminate other illness than Parkinson’s disease.  Fatigue is common with aging.

Fatigue in Parkinson's Disease

By PMD Alliance, June 16, 2021

In this 1-hour webinar Joseph Friedman, MD, discusses the difference between fatigue and sleepiness.  He distinguishes between four kinds of fatigue (emotional, cognitive, physical, and muscle), and he explains how to measure and treat it.  

Pain and Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

By the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, July 2016

This 63-minute audio with slides is conducted as a panel interview of two doctors and a Parkinson’s patient about pain and fatigue in Parkinson’s disease.  Discussion about pain is first, discussion about fatigue begins at 26:43 minutes.  [Registration is required, but is free.]

Parkinson’s Disease - Fatigue

By Michigan Medicine , December 8, 2015

This 29-minute video lecture by Dr. Praveen Dayalu at the University of Michigan’s Parkinson’s Disease and You Symposium, specifies treatable contributors to fatigue like, sleep issues, mood changes, OFF states, motor de-conditioning, or another medical issue.  When no identifiable cause, try activity (physical, social, and mental), and caffeine (green tea).  Good Q&A.

Expert-Level Resources

Fatigue in Parkinson’s disease: report from a multidisciplinary symposium

By Joseph H. Friedman, et. al.  Nature Partner Journals, Parkinson’s Disease, January 14, 2016

A summary of a symposium in October, 2014, reviewing what is known about the diagnosis and treatment of fatigue, its physiology, and what we might learn from other disorders in which fatigue figures prominently, and concluding with focused recommendations to enhance understanding and treatment of fatigue in Parkinson’s disease.

Fatigue in Parkinson’s disease and potential interventions

By Jau-Shin Lou.  NeuroRehabilitation, 2015; 37(1):25-34

This abstract of a literature review discusses the measurement and pathophysiology of fatigue and fatigability.  There rare no evidence-based treatments available.  Several pilot studies are reviewed on the effects of pharmacological agents and exercise.  These provide some insights on the design of future larger clinical trials. Fee for full article at IOS Press.

Interventions for Fatigue in Parkinson’s Disease

By R. Elbers, et.al.  Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015

In reviewing medical literature up to April 2015, researchers found nine studies investigating effects of medication on fatigue, two studies on the effects of exercise, and none on the effect of cognitive behavior therapy.  Not clear what treatment is most effective to treat fatigue.

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