UCSF
Neurology Clinical Programs
Surgical Movement Disorders Center
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Medication Therapy

The main goal of medication therapies in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders is to increase the level of certain neurotransmitter chemicals that reach the brain, and to stimulate or block the action of other chemicals that affect normal body functions.

Drug treatment in movement disorders is prescribed to suit the individual, both in terms of the dosage, the form of the medication (e.g. slow release) and the times the drugs are taken. A combination of different medications is often required to provide the most effective symptom control.

Treatment may be started with low doses of a drug, with a gradual increase in dose until the required control over the symptoms is achieved. This gradual introduction helps avoid side effects. Nonetheless, some drugs may have unavoidable side effects. Thus it is important to have a thorough consultation with the doctor in order to be aware of and prepared to cope with potential side effects.

The dose and timing of medications may need to be adjusted over time as your symptoms change (or side effects occur). Accordingly, your doctor will probably want to check your response to the medication.

No two people with movement disorders are exactly the same, and each will have a different combination of symptoms and medication. You will need to work with your doctor to find the right balance of medications to effectively manage your symptoms.