Pointers for Using Parkinson's Medications Effectively
It is essential that patients and caregivers become knowledgeable about the medications used to treat Parkinson's disease. Medical research has provided numerous medications that used alone, or more often in careful combination, can provide significant relief of Parkinson's Disease symptoms. Intelligent use of these medications can greatly enhance the person in your care's quality of life.
The following tips are especially noteworthy in learning to use the anti-Parkinson's medications:
- There is a tremendous variability of Parkinson's Disease symptoms and response to treatment from one individual to another.
- Medication choices and doses must be tailored for an individual patient's needs at a specific point in time. The doctor and patient must work closely as a team to make needed adjustments.
- The timing of medication doses is almost as important as what medications are taken.
- Any medication may cause unwanted side effects during the course of therapy. Side effects must be discussed with the physician so doses can be adjusted or discontinued.
- Most patients are optimally managed on a combination of medications instead of continuing to increase the amount of levodopa as solo therapy.
- Allied health services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling are invaluable adjunct treatments in maintaining good motor function.
The ultimate goal of comprehensive therapy is to maximize current physical and mental function while maintaining options for a healthy future.
Tip: Caregivers might watch for clues that their person with Parkinson's Disease needs help monitoring medications. Most patients manage their own medication doses and timing in the early years, but may need help along the way if confusion becomes a problem or awkward hand movements aren't compatible with pill bottle manipulations.