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Oral and transdermal medications, and infusions

Parkinson's treatment may be administered in several different forms. 

Oral medication

Many Parkinson’s medicines are taken orally (through the mouth), usually in tablet or capsule form. A few are also available as a syrup.

Transdermal medication

Transdermal means ‘through the skin’. Some medicines may be prescribed in transdermal form such as a patch. This type of medication is delivered through the skin and then slowly and continuously absorbed into the bloodstream.


As Parkinson’s progresses you may find that oral medication does not adequately control your symptoms. If this happens, your doctor may recommend treatment delivered by a device such as a pump so that treatment is delivered in a more continuous way, known as continuous dopaminergic stimulation which can help to smooth out fluctuations in symptom control.

Continuous dopaminergic stimulation

In a healthy brain, dopamine-producing neurons fire continuously to maintain relatively constant levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In people with Parkinson’s, levodopa is prescribed to boost falling levels of dopamine production in the brain. But taking intermittent doses of oral levodopa in the long-term is linked to the development of motor (movement) symptoms.

It is the brain's normal continuous pattern of stimulating the dopamine-producing neurons, and thus maintaining more constant levels of dopamine, that continuous dopaminergic stimulation (CDS) aims to imitate. This continuous rather than intermittent pattern seems to prevent or delay motor symptoms, or reduce their intensity.

See Continuous dopaminergic stimulation for detailed information.

See also Levodopa [intestinal infusion] - Duodopa) and Dopamine agonists [subcutaneous] - Apomorphine.

To find out more about the main medications used to treat Parkinson’s, see Types of medication and Classes of medication.

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