New dopaminergic therapies for PD motor complications

Danielle Larson*, Tanya Simuni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Motor complications, characterized by “off” periods – when anti-parkinsonian medications are ineffective – and dyskinesia, are the hallmark of advanced Parkinson's disease (PD). While levodopa is the gold standard PD medication in terms of efficacy, its short duration of effect coupled with progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons leads to motor complications and fails to treat off periods. Purpose of review: This review focuses on novel dopaminergic therapies that were recently made clinically available or are currently in development for the treatment of motor complications. First, it will discuss rescue therapies for the treatment of off episodes, including novel apomorphine and levodopa formulations. Second, it will highlight adjunctive dopaminergic medications approved to reduce total daily off time. Third, it will discuss longer-acting levodopa formulations in development and introduce a novel selective dopamine agonist under study. Finally, it will cover novel dopaminergic delivery mechanisms, with specific focus on continuous subcutaneous infusions in development. The breadth of dopaminergic therapies recently approved or in development for motor complications, and specifically off time reduction, evokes cautious optimism. Gains in reducing off time with rescue therapies, adjunctive medications or longer-acting levodopa formulations are modest, and underscore the need for more continuous dopaminergic delivery to address the underlying pathophysiology and translate to clinically meaningful improvement in motor complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108869
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022


  • Dopaminergic therapy
  • Infusions
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Rescue therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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