Physical therapy implications for Parkinson's drugs

The highly debilitating nature of this disease makes it imperative that the physical therapist (PT) understands the different drugs used in the treatment of Parkinson's and their interactions within the body. Physical therapy treatment should be administered during the peak effective time of each individual medication; or ideal treatment effects may be compromised due to a negative event known as End of Dose Dyskinesia. This occurrence involves the positive anti-spasmodic effects of the drug tapering off before the next dose can be administered. Additional adverse effects of each of these drug classes can form a barrier to treatment, as well. Therefore, a clear understanding of the general yellow flags to improper dosing is vital. Some of these yellow flags include: orthostatic hypotension, psychosis, gastrointestinal distress, and dyskinesias[1]. The following drugs discussed will highlight the fundamental characteristics of the prototypical drugs used in the management of Parkinson’s disease.


  1. Connolly BS, Lang AE. Pharmacological Treatment of Parkinson Disease. Jama. 2014;311(16):1670. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3654.