The predominant motor features of Parkinson's disease (PD) are caused by degeneration of dopaminergic neurones and can be reversed in part or whole by dopamine replacement or augmentation strategies. Physicians have most experience with the use of levodopa, which remains the most potent oral dopaminergic treatment for PD. There are reservations about the long-term use of levodopa, most particularly in the context of its propensity to induce motor fluctuations and dyskinesias. Strategies exist to delay or diminish these complications, but the physician must lay the basis for these in the selection of drugs for early treatment and the sequence of drugs introduced subsequently. Levodopa efficacy and duration of effect may be enhanced by combination with a catechol-O-methyl transferase inhibitor. Maintaining good motor function and quality of life remain the primary goals of therapy and the principle that treatment must be tailored to the individual patient's needs is paramount.