Parkinson Disease

Am Fam Physician. 2020 Dec 1;102(11):679-691.


Parkinson disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with significant morbidity and mortality. Most patients consult with their primary care physician about Parkinson disease symptoms before seeking care from a specialist. The diagnosis of Parkinson disease is clinical, and key disease features are bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor. The main diagnostic signs of Parkinson disease are motor symptoms; however, Parkinson disease is also associated with nonmotor symptoms, including autonomic dysfunction, depression, and hallucinations, which can make the initial diagnosis of Parkinson disease difficult. Disease progression is variable and clinical signs cannot be used to predict progression accurately. Therapies, including levodopa, have not demonstrated the ability to slow disease progression. Motor symptoms are managed with carbidopa/levodopa, monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors, and nonergot dopamine agonists. Prolonged use and higher doses of levodopa result in dyskinesias and motor symptom fluctuations over time. Deep brain stimulation surgery is performed for patients who do not achieve adequate control with levodopa therapy. Deep brain stimulation is most effective for significant motor fluctuations, dyskinesias, and tremors. Nonmotor symptom therapies target patient-specific conditions during the disease course. Interdisciplinary team care can alleviate multiple symptoms of Parkinson disease.

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbidopa / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Combinations
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • carbidopa, levodopa drug combination
  • Levodopa
  • Carbidopa