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)

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

Published by the Parkinson's Foundation, 2022

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 the 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.

Medications to be Avoided or Used with Caution in Parkinson's Disease

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, October 2019

This two-page educational supplement (PDF) lists medication names, trade names, what it is used for, and in most cases the mechanism of action.

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

Full List of Medications Approved for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease in the USA

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association

A full list of Parkinson’s medications that have been approved to treat Parkinson’s in the United States. This material is intended to provide you with information. It should not be used for treatment purposes, but rather as a source for discussion with the patient’s own physician. Work with your physician to determine which medications are best for you, and know the risks and benefits of each.
En Español: Lista de Medicamentos Aprobados en Estados Unidos para el Tratamiento de la Enfermedad de Parkinson

Medications for Motor Symptoms

Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation

Here are described the different categories of Parkinson's medications — how they work, their potential benefits and common side effects. 

Parkinson disease treatment options — medications (Beyond the Basics)

By Daniel Tarsy, MD, Published by Up To Date, July 15, 2021

This article discusses the six main types of medications available to treat Parkinson's motor symptoms including at what point in disease progression each is typically used, which may be used together, dosing, possible side effects and how to minimize side effects. It goes on to discuss treatment of the non-motor symptoms depression, sleep disorders, dementia, and psychosis.

Parkinson's Drugs

Published by Parkinson's UK, August 2019

This comprehensive page answers basic questions about how PD medications work, when to start taking them, possible side effects, tips to help you manage your medications, with links to more advanced information about PD medications, and a printable medication record.

Prescription Medications

Published by the Parkinson's Foundation

This is the introductory page of the Parkinson's Foundation's Medication and Treatment information pages. At the top of the page the left column lists various Parkinson's medications and other treatment options for readers to click on and explore on other pages of the website. Text reminds readers that medication and treatment options for PD are as unique as each person with PD and provides an explanation of generic vs. branded drugs as well as resources for prescription financial assistance. 

Podcasts & Webinars

Managing the Motor Symptoms in PD

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.  

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

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.  

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

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?

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

By the 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.

What and Why of Parkinson's Medications

APDA Upper Midwest Chapter, November 20, 2020. By the American Parkinson Disease Association

On the Day 2 video of the Upper Midwest Parkinson's Symposium movement disorders specialist Dr. Lynn Struck gives a quick summary of every medication related to treatment of Parkinson's symptoms, including the mechanism of operation, what it is best used for, side effects, and dosages.  If you have ever been confused about why you are taking one thing and another person with PD is taking something different, watch this webinar!

What to do When Your Medications Stop Working

By the American Parkinson Disease Association, January 29, 2019

In this 55-minute webinar movement disorders specialist David Standaert, MD, PhD, provides an overview of how PD is diagnosed, the progression of symptoms, and discusses when someone may want to start taking medication. He then outlines which medications doctors have to choose from and in what combinations before discussing later stage symptoms of wearing off of medications, dyskinesia, cognitive changes/hallucinations, and how to compensate for these.

Your Role in Medications

By the Parkinson's Foundation, May 5, 2021

Movement disorder specialist Ihtsham Haq, MD, spoke for an hour on recognizing medication reactions, how to differentiate ON and OFF symptoms, and how care partners can help their loved one with Parkinson's navigate medication issues.
Webinar Notes on the Stanford PD Community Blog

Last updated November 2023 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach.