anticholinergic drugs in parkinsonism

Last reviewed 01/2018

Anticholinergic drugs are less effective than levodopa in treating Parkinson's disease (PD) but are used:

  • in combination with levodopa, particularly when tremor is a particular problem
  • instead of levodopa if an "anti-levodop" treatment regimen is being followed

Anticholinergic drugs are useful in post-encephalitic parkinsonism.

Anticholinergics have their primary action in reducing tremor but may also reduce rigidity.

Anticholinergics may be used as a symptomatic treatment typically in young people with early PD and severe tremor, but should not be drugs of first choice due to limited efficacy and the propensity to cause neuropsychiatric side effects (1)


  1. NICE (June 2006). Parkinson's disease.