Learn About Secondary Parkinsonism

What is the definition of Secondary Parkinsonism?

Secondary parkinsonism is when symptoms similar to Parkinson disease are caused by certain medicines, a different nervous system disorder, or another illness.

Parkinsonism refers to any condition that involves the types of movement problems seen in Parkinson disease. These problems include tremors, slow movement, and stiffness of the arms and legs.

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What are the alternative names for Secondary Parkinsonism?

Parkinsonism - secondary; Atypical Parkinson disease

What are the causes of Secondary Parkinsonism?

Secondary parkinsonism may be caused by health problems, including:

  • Brain injury
  • Diffuse Lewy body disease (a type of dementia)
  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Stroke
  • Wilson disease

Other causes of secondary parkinsonism include:

  • Brain damage caused by anesthesia drugs (such as during surgery)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Certain medicines used to treat mental disorders or nausea (metoclopramide and prochlorperazine)
  • Mercury poisoning and other chemical poisonings
  • Overdoses of narcotics
  • MPTP (a contaminant in some street drugs)

There have been rare cases of secondary parkinsonism among IV drug users who injected a substance called MPTP, which can be produced when making a form of heroin.

What are the symptoms of Secondary Parkinsonism?

Common symptoms include:

  • Decrease in facial expressions
  • Difficulty starting and controlling movement
  • Loss or weakness of movement (paralysis)
  • Soft voice
  • Stiffness of the trunk, arms, or legs
  • Tremor

Confusion and memory loss may be likely in secondary parkinsonism. This is because many diseases that cause secondary parkinsonism also lead to dementia.

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What are the current treatments for Secondary Parkinsonism?

If the condition is caused by a medicine, the provider may recommend changing or stopping the medicine.

Treating underlying conditions, such as stroke or infections, can reduce symptoms or prevent the condition from getting worse.

If symptoms make it hard to do everyday activities, the provider may recommend medicine. Medicines used to treat this condition can cause severe side effects. It is important to see the provider for check-ups. Secondary parkinsonism tends to be less responsive to medical therapy than Parkinson disease.

Who are the top Secondary Parkinsonism Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

Division Of Pediatric Neurology

Montreal, QC, CA H3C3J

Philippe Huot is in Montreal, Canada. Huot is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Secondary Parkinsonism. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Secondary Parkinsonism, Neurotoxicity Syndromes, Herpes Zoster Oticus, and Drug Induced Dyskinesia.

Highly rated in

VA Healthcare

3400 Spruce St 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

James Morley is a Neurologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Morley is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Secondary Parkinsonism. He is also highly rated in 3 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Secondary Parkinsonism, Parkinson's Disease, Anosmia, and Chorea. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania.

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Highly rated in

University Health Network

Krembil Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital 
Toronto, ON, CA 

Tom Johnston is in Toronto, Canada. Johnston is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Secondary Parkinsonism. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Neurotoxicity Syndromes, Secondary Parkinsonism, Herpes Zoster Oticus, and Drug Induced Dyskinesia.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Secondary Parkinsonism?

Unlike Parkinson disease, some types of secondary parkinsonism may stabilize or even improve if the underlying cause is treated. Some brain problems, such as Lewy body disease, are not reversible.

What are the possible complications of Secondary Parkinsonism?

This condition may lead to these problems:

  • Difficulty doing daily activities
  • Difficulty swallowing (eating)
  • Disability (varying degrees)
  • Injuries from falls
  • Side effects of medicines used to treat the condition

Side effects from loss of strength (debilitation):

  • Breathing food, fluid, or mucus into the lungs (aspiration)
  • Blood clot in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Malnutrition
When should I contact a medical professional for Secondary Parkinsonism?

Contact the provider if:

  • Symptoms of secondary parkinsonism develop, come back, or get worse.
  • New symptoms appear, including confusion and movements that cannot be controlled.
  • You are unable to care for the person at home after treatment starts.
How do I prevent Secondary Parkinsonism?

Treating conditions that cause secondary parkinsonism may decrease the risk.

People taking medicines that can cause secondary parkinsonism should be carefully monitored by the provider to prevent the condition from developing.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
What are the latest Secondary Parkinsonism Clinical Trials?
The Effect of Hericium Erinaceus Mycelium in Non-motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
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Relationship Between Frailty and Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Parkinson's Disease or Secondary Parkinsonism.
What are the Latest Advances for Secondary Parkinsonism?
Case Report: Secondary bilateral parkinsonism and dystonia treated with dronabinol.
A Case of Pregabalin-Induced Parkinsonism.
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Psychotropic medications induced parkinsonism and akathisia in people attending follow-up treatment at Jimma Medical Center, Psychiatry Clinic.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : February 04, 2020
Published By : Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/28/2021.

What are the references for this article ?

Fox SH, Katzenschlager R, Lim SY, et al; Movement Disorder Society Evidence-Based Medicine Committee. International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society evidence-based medicine review: update on treatments for the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2018;33(8):1248-1266. PMID: 29570866 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29570866/.

Jankovic J. Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 96.

Okun MS, Lang AE. Parkinsonism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 381.