Managing your Parkinson’s

Taking control of your Parkinson’s disease (PD) begins with education. Understand the treatment options available to you and make a plan to utilize resources, specialists, and support throughout your journey. 

Step it up with exercise

You already know that exercise should be part of your weekly routine. It keeps our minds and our bodies in alignment. This is even more crucial as you face your Parkinson's diagnosis. Studies show exercise slows the progression of symptoms in people with PD. In a 10,000-patient clinical trial, at least 2 1/2 hours of physical activity each week—including strength, flexibility, and aerobic exercise—has been shown to prolong quality of life.1

“I feel confident that as soon as I get these quads back, I’m going to be back, and that’s pretty exciting.”

—Ken B., Boston Scientific DBS Patient, Fountain Hills, AZ

Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

Finding relief with medication3,4,5

While every person's treatment plan will differ, almost all will start with medication, which tends to be the most effective in the early stages. The optimal medication plan varies from person to person, and your doctor can help you find the right medication—or combination—to give you the most relief with the fewest side effects. Over time, as medications become less effective, doses may be increased, and new medications can be added.2

Levodopa (l-dopa)

How It Works

Chemical “precursor” that the brain will convert to dopamine. Used to replace the dopamine that is not being produced in the brains of people with PD

Common Brand Names



How It Works

Prevents the breakdown of L-DOPA before it reaches the brain. Almost always given in conjunction with L-DOPA

Common Brand Names





Dopamine agonists

How It Works

Can be used in place of, or in combination with, levodopa

Common Brand Names








Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors

How It Works

Increases the concentration of dopamine in the brain, giving more opportunity for the drug to work

Common Brand Names





How It Works

Reduces tremor or rigidity1

Common Brand Names




ON/OFF fluctuations with Levodopa treatment

Early PD

Initially, many people achieve good motor control with L-DOPA therapy (“ON time”). As the dose wears off, the symptoms of Parkinson’s return (“OFF time”).

As Parkinson’s advances, medication may lose its ability to control your motor symptoms.

Moderate PD

As the disease advances, additional doses may be needed at more frequent intervals to achieve control.

Advanced PD

Very high doses of L-DOPA can cause unintended side effects, such as dyskinesia—rapid, uncontrolled movements. ON/OFF fluctuations are often a catalyst for a switch to other medication.3,4,5

Surgical treatment options4

As PD progresses, you may notice a decrease in efficacy of your medication or an increase in side effects. As changes arise, talk to your care team immediately about alternatives that may reduce symptoms and reclaim your quality of life.

Ablative surgery

Pallidotomy and thalamotomy are non-reversible surgeries that use targeted application of heat to destroy neural tissue driving Parkinson’s symptoms. This procedure targets and “ablates” the area of the brain affected by PD, thereby decreasing symptoms.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

DBS is designed to help control motor symptoms while allowing for a reduction in medication. DBS involves inserting a stimulator that sends tiny pulses of electricity to the brain to interrupt the overactive cells that cause PD. For DBS to be effective, the device must be implanted when motor symptoms are still responsive and before PD drugs lose their effect, which is why it’s crucial to speak to your doctor when you begin to notice this change. 

Support in numbers

While talking to specialists, friends, and even therapists is important throughout your journey, you may find it helpful to speak to others with PD on the same path as you. Joining support groups is a valuable way to discover new information, find resources, and share a common experience with others.

In-person support

Your neurologist, local hospitals, and community outreach programs can help point you in the right direction for in-person support groups. You may even start your own PD support group in your area by telling your doctor of your desire or creating a group or posting online.

Online support 

Get support online without leaving the comfort of your couch. Here are a few popular forums:6

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