Treatment of advanced Parkinson's disease

Curr Opin Neurol. 2014 Aug;27(4):450-60. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000118.


Purpose of review: Later stage Parkinson's disease, sometimes referred to as advanced disease, has been characterized by motor complication, as well as by the potential emergence of nonlevodopa responsive motor and nonmotor symptoms. The management of advanced stage Parkinson's disease can be complex. This review summarizes the currently available treatment strategies for addressing advanced Parkinson's disease.

Recent findings: We will discuss the latest pharmacological strategies (e.g., inhibitors of dopamine-metabolizing enzymes, dopamine agonists, and extended release dopamine formulations) for addressing motor dysfunction. We will summarize the risks and benefits of current invasive treatments. Finally, we will address the current evidence supporting the treatment of nonmotor symptoms in the advanced Parkinson's disease patient. We will conclude by detailing the potential nonpharmacological and multidisciplinary approaches for advanced stage Parkinson's disease.

Summary: The optimization of levodopa is, in most cases, the most powerful therapeutic option available; however, medication optimization requires an advanced understanding of Parkinson's disease. Failure of conventional pharmacotherapy should precipitate a discussion of the potential risks and benefits of more invasive treatments. Currently, there are no comparative studies of invasive treatment. Among the invasive treatments, deep brain stimulation has the largest amount of existing evidence, but also has the highest individual per patient risk. Nonmotor symptoms will affect quality of life more than the motor Parkinson's disease symptoms, and these nonmotor symptoms should be aggressively treated. Many advanced Parkinson's disease patients will likely benefit from multi and interdisciplinary Parkinson's disease teams with multiple professionals collaborating to develop a collective and tailored strategy for an individual patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Levodopa