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Medication Induced Parkinson's Dyskinesia

Literally meaning "abnormal movement," dyskinesia is an uncontrolled, involuntary muscle movement that is irregular in motion. Although it can be a stand-alone condition, in people with PD it is most often associated with long-term use of carbidopa/levodopa or other Parkinson's medications that increase levels of dopamine in the brain. This type of carbidopa/levodopa-induced dyskinesia involves symptoms ranging from writing or wriggling to dramatic rocking and head bobbing. Severe dyskinesia, also referred to as troublesome dyskinesia, can significantly interfere with daily life and compromise gait and balance, limiting the person's engagement in activities such as running errands, participating in hobbies, meeting with family and friends, and eating in public.

If a person with PD is having dyskinesias that are bothersome or present most of the time, one option is to reduce the carbidopa/levodopa dose or other related PD medications. However, if doing so would adversely affect the control of your primary PD symptoms, your physician may prescribe treatment to specifically target the dyskinesia. An extended-release formulation of amantadine has been approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of carbidopa/levodopa-induced dyskinesia in people with PD and has been demonstrated to also reduce OFF time. Another option is to consider other forms of amantadine, which are approved to treat Parkinson's - and may be prescribed off label to treat dyskinesia. For people with Parkinson's who are good candidates and willing to undergo surgery, deep brain stimulation (DBS) can be a successful treatment option for controlling Parkinson's dyskinesia.

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.


Davis Phinney Foundation. Parkinson's Treatments and Therapies. Chapter 7 - Medication. Pages 125-130. Every Victory Counts. "Manual." Sixth Edition, 2021.

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