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Victoria Epilepsy & Parkinson's Centre

Parkinson's Blog

Review of Anti-Parkinson's Medication


extracted from September 2013 newsletter full article can be viewed here

All medications have side effects, so the decision to use meds is based on weighing the potential benefits against potential side effects. Sometimes a trial of medication is needed to learn about the potential pros & cons for each person.
The goal of medication is to reduce the symptoms to a level that will allow the person with Parkinson’s (PwP) to function and stay engaged in a good range of activity that enhances joy in life. 
It is also critical that people maintain involvement in regular exercise for this movement disorder, which sometimes necessitates medication to treat symptoms.

Treatment is aimed at restoring dopamine levels in the brain. Other nerve cells and brain chemicals may be affected, so dopamine treatment will not necessarily relieve all PD symptoms (eg balance impairment, tremor, anxiety, depression or changes in thinking, etc) 

No two people react the same, so drugs choices and doses are unique for each individual.
It is very important to take your medications at regular intervals and on time. Listening to your body’s response to treatment helps you learn when you need to time your doses.
To minimize the risk of a nausea side effect from PD medication, they are generally prescribed to be taken with food during the adjustment phase. 

Medication timer devices can help ensure you do not miss doses and take them at regular intervals.
It is important to note that all anti-PD medications can cause drowsiness and impair driving skill.
Your physician is dependent on you (and sometimes your family) to report when symptoms are not well-controlled or when side effects are occurring, hence it is very important to:

• be well-informed about your Parkinson’s symptom profile;
• to understand what the drugs should do and their side effects; 
• to know your patterns, i.e. when medications are working well/when they are not/ when you  may be experiencing side effects; and
• to keep an updated list of all your medications, vitamins, herbs and supplements  in your wallet and ensure that your doctor is aware of everything that you are taking.

Posted by Maureen Matthew, Parkinson's Coordinator on 5th Dec 2013 10:25am