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Managing PD Medication for
"ON" Times

Carbidopa / levodopa helps minimize Parkinson's symptoms because it is converted to dopamine in the brain. OFF times take place when carbidopa/levodopa is no longer working well enough to suppress your symptoms.  The following strategies may help you to maximize your ON times to live your best life with PD.

Tell your Doctor

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the "off time" episodes you're experiencing. Note if they occur at the same time (before your next dose of medication) or sporadically.

Adjust the timing

Your medication dosage or timing may be changed. Your doctor may change the amount of medication you're taking or the timing of the dose. Adjustments to the dosage or timing may reduce "off times."

Change the type of carbidopa/levodopa

The type of carbidopa/levodopa you're taking may be changed. Your doctor may change the form of therapy you're receiving. Some forms of carbidopa/levodopa are extended-release formulations that release the medication steadily for a longer period of time.  There are also formulations that are available as a tablet that dissolves in your mouth or a suspension that is delivered directly into your small intestine via a tube.

Add another medication

Another medication may be added. Your doctor may add a different kind of medication to your current regimen.

Deep brain stimulation

Consider deep brain stimulation. Some people are good candidates for deep brain stimulation (DBS), a type of surgery in which a device is implanted in the brain to deliver electrical pulses and decrease the motor symptoms of PD. Ask your doctor if DBS is an option for you.

Consider your diet

Your diet may need adjusting. What you're eating and when, and how that coincides with your medication schedule, can impact the presence of "off times." Talk to your doctor and a nutritionist to determine if changing your diet can help manage your "off time."

Everyone is different

Each individual responds differently to the various treatments available for PD, and there is no one solution that works for everyone. In addition, your needs change as the disease progresses.  By working with your doctor and telling him or her about the symptoms you're experiencing, including any "off time" you may be having, you can best manage your symptoms.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this Parkinson Association of Alabama Resource Center is for awareness and educational purposes only about Parkinson's medication. The PAA does not endorse any specific brand or type of medication. All discussions about medication should be between you, your care partner, and your medical teams.


Six Tips for Managing Parkinson's "Off Time" Editorial Team, Parkinson's Disease. June, 2022.

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