Globally, greater than 30 million individuals are afflicted with disorders of the nervous system accompanied by tens of thousands of new cases annually with limited, if any, treatment options. Erythropoietin (EPO) offers an exciting and novel therapeutic strategy to address both acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. EPO governs a number of critical protective and regenerative mechanisms that can impact apoptotic and autophagic programmed cell death pathways through protein kinase B (Akt), sirtuins, mammalian forkhead transcription factors, and wingless signaling. Translation of the cytoprotective pathways of EPO into clinically effective treatments for some neurodegenerative disorders has been promising, but additional work is necessary. In particular, development of new treatments with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents such as EPO brings several important challenges that involve detrimental vascular outcomes and tumorigenesis. Future work that can effectively and safely harness the complexity of the signaling pathways of EPO will be vital for the fruitful treatment of disorders of the nervous system.