Glossary of Terms

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ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)

A term used by healthcare professionals to refer to things that adults normally do for themselves, including walking, eating, bathing, dressing, and grooming. ADLs can also refer to having a job, taking care of the home, and leisure activities. The ability or inability to perform ADLs can be used as a very practical measure of ability or disability in disorders like Parkinson's disease.


Inability to move ("freezing") or difficulty beginning or maintaining movement.

Autonomic nervous system

The system that controls internal body functions.


The slowing down of movement.


A drug used in combination with levodopa to treat Parkinson's disease.

Central nervous system (CNS)

The brain and spinal cord, which play an important role in coordination and movement control.

Comtan® (entacapone)

A drug that blocks the breakdown of dopamine in the brain. It may be used in combination with a levodopa-carbidopa preparation.


Loss of intellectual abilities.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS)

A surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease. With DBS, an electrical current is applied to a targeted area deep within the brain through the use of an implanted electrode and an external battery source.


A chemical produced in the brain that helps control movement. People with Parkinson's disease have abnormally low levels of dopamine in their brains.

Dopamine agonist

A drug that is thought to mimic the effects of dopamine by directly stimulating the dopamine receptors in the brain.


Nonpatterned, twisting, turning, or other involuntary movement. This can be caused by medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease.


Involuntary muscle spasms that cause abnormal movements and body positions.


A temporary, involuntary inability to move.

Globus pallidus

A group of nerve cells in the brain affecting movement, balance, and walking; often used as a target for pallidotomy, or DBS.


A sensory perception that is not caused by an environmental or external stimulus and occurs while one is awake. Visual hallucinations are possible side effects of medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease.


Arising from an obscure or unknown cause.


An area of cell damage. In Parkinson's disease, lesions are created in the brain as a type of therapy to help relieve movement disorders.

Levodopa (L-dopa)

A drug that is converted into dopamine in the brain. It is the drug most commonly used (in combination with carbidopa) to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Motor complications

Uncontrolled fluctuations in motor control that progressively worsen with length of disease. These often occur with long-term use of levodopa.

Motor function

Anything requiring parts of the human body to work together to produce an action or movement. Fine motor skills involve smaller muscles, like the ones in the hands. Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles of the arms and legs.


Refers to conditions like Parkinson's disease that involve loss of cells in the central nervous system.


A physician specializing in disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles, including Parkinson's disease.


A cell that sends electrical impulses, which carry information from one part of the brain to another.


A doctor who operates on the brain and central nervous system.


A chemical substance that carries electrical impulses from one nerve cell to another.

Off time

Periods of time during the day when the beneficial effects of a medicine subsides and Parkinson's disease symptoms return.


An old-fashioned term used to describe paralysis or uncontrollable shaking of the body. Parkinson's disease was once called "the shaking palsy."


A generic term for slowness and mobility disorders. These typically have symptoms of tremor, rigidity, and postural problems. Parkinson's disease is one of them.

Parkinson's disease

A disorder of the nervous system. It is caused by decreasing amounts of dopamine in the brain.

PET scan

Shortened term for positron emission tomography. It is a method used to take 3D pictures of regions in the brain and other parts of the body.


Stiffness or inflexibility of the limbs and joints.

Side effect

An effect of a drug that is not the main or intended effect. Some common side effects of drugs that treat Parkinson's disease include dyskinesia, dizziness, nausea, hallucination, and sleepiness.


With regard to prescribing drugs, gradual increase of dosage under a doctor's supervision; the goal is to determine the dose that is effective for the individual patient.


A patient's ability to take any medicine without experiencing unusual adverse effects.


Involuntary shaking of a limb, the head, mouth, tongue, or the entire body due to muscle contractions.


Mirapex ER® (pramipexole dihydrochloride) extended-release tablets and
Mirapex® (pramipexole dihydrochloride) tablets are prescription medicines to treat the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD).

Important Safety Information:


MIRAPEX ER is a prescription medicine used to treat the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

What is MIRAPEX?

MIRAPEX is a prescription medicine used to treat:

  • the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

What are the possible side effects of both MIRAPEX ER and MIRAPEX?

Both MIRAPEX ER and MIRAPEX may cause serious side effects, including:

  • falling asleep during normal daily activities.

    • MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX may cause you to fall asleep while you are doing daily activities such as driving, talking with other people, or eating.
      • Some people taking the medicine in MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX have had car accidents because they fell asleep while driving.
      • Some people did not feel sleepy before they fell asleep while driving. You could fall asleep without any warning.

      Tell your doctor right away if you fall asleep while you are doing activities such as talking, eating, driving, or if you feel sleepier than normal for you. Don’t drive or do other dangerous activity until you know how MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX affects you.

  • low blood pressure when you sit or stand up quickly. After you have been sitting or lying down, stand up slowly until you know how MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX affects you. This may help reduce the following symptoms:

    • dizziness
    • nausea
    • fainting
    • sweating

    Sit and stand up slowly after you have been sitting or lying down.

  • unusual urges. Some people who take certain medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease, including MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX, have reported problems, such as gambling, compulsive eating, compulsive buying, and increased sex drive.

    If you or your family members notice that you are developing unusual urges or behaviors, talk to your doctor.

  • hallucinations and other psychotic-like behavior (seeing visions, hearing sounds or feeling sensations that are not real, confusion, excessive suspicion, aggressive behavior, agitation, delusional beliefs and disorganized thinking). Your chance of having hallucinations and other psychotic-like behavior is higher if you are age 65 or older.

    If you have hallucinations or other psychotic-like changes, talk with your doctor right away.

  • uncontrolled sudden movements (dyskinesia). If you have new dyskinesia, or your existing dyskinesia gets worse, tell your doctor.

  • skin cancer (melanoma). Some people with Parkinson’s disease may have a higher chance of having melanoma than people who do not have Parkinson’s disease. It is not known if the chance of having melanoma is higher because of the medicines to treat Parkinson’s disease, or from the Parkinson’s disease. People who take MIRAPEX ER / MIRAPEX should have regular skin examinations to check for melanoma.

Avoid alcohol when taking MIRAPEX ER or MIRAPEX. It can increase your chances of having serious side effects.

The most common side effects in people taking MIRAPEX ER for Parkinson’s disease are:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • dry mouth
  • swelling of the feet and ankles
  • headache
  • weight loss (anorexia)

The most common side effects in people taking MIRAPEX for Parkinson’s disease are:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • constipation
  • muscle weakness
  • abnormal dreams
  • confusion
  • memory problems (amnesia)
  • urinating more often than usual

These are not all the possible side effects you could experience. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you.

Before taking MIRAPEX ER or MIRAPEX, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information, for MIRAPEX ER and MIRAPEX.

This information is intended for US residents only.

CARES Foundation If you can't afford your MIRAPEX or MIRAPEX ER,
our patient assistance program
may be able to help. Call 1-800-556-8317.