Secondary parkinsonism

Alternative Names

Parkinsonism – secondary

Definition of Secondary parkinsonism

Secondary parkinsonism is similar to , but it is caused by certain medicines, a different nervous system disorder, or another illness.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common nervous system (neurologic) disorders of the elderly. “Parkinsonism” refers to any condition that causes Parkinson’s-type abnormal movements. These movements are caused by changes in or destruction of the nerve cells (neurons) that produce the chemical dopamine in a certain area of the brain.


Symptoms of parkinsonism may include:

Signs and tests

The health care provider may be able to diagnose secondary parkinsonism based on your history, symptoms, and a physical examination. However, the symptoms may be difficult to assess, particularly in the elderly.


Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms. If the symptoms are mild, no treatment may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

What will happen varies and depends on the cause of the disorder. If the disorder is caused by medications, it may be treatable. All other causes are not reversible and tend to get worse over time.


Daniel Kantor, MD, Medical Director of Neurologique, Ponte Vedra, FL and President of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN). Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/4/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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