Parkinson’s medications are used to control symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. The type of medication, dose and timing is determined by your neurologist after your consultation. It is tailored to the individual symptoms that are most bothersome for you. It is important that you stick to the schedule recommended to gain the greatest benefit from the medications.

Side effects can occur with all Parkinson’s medications, and just like some symptoms, some side effects may also impact your care partner. These are often touched upon by the treating neurologist, however you should discuss with your Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist, GP or Pharmacist before any new medication is taken. Herbal supplements, vitamins and other natural remedies may also interact with Parkinson’s medications. Always seek a health professional’s advice before taking them with or without your Parkinson’s medications.

As your Parkinson’s changes there will also be a need to adjust and change the treatments so that they continue to work best for you. GPs can refer you to get a Home Medicines Review (HMR), where a pharmacist visits your home to help you understand all your medicines and supplements and make recommendations to help you and your care team develop a medicine management plan.

Dose Administration Aids (DAA) can also be provided with the aim of assisting you with the management and timing of your medicines. A DAA is a well-sealed, tamper-evident device that allows individual medicine doses to be organised according to your prescribed dose schedule. These are sometimes referred to as a Webster-pak.

In Australia, support workers who assist with medication management for people with disabilities typically require training and certification in medication assistance. The specific requirements may vary depending on the state or territory.

Anti-Parkinson’s medications come in the broad categories below. Combinations of them are often used depending on the symptoms you want to manage and your response to each medication including side effects and ICDs:

  • carbidopa/levodopa
  • anticholinergics
  • dopamine agonists
  • MAO-B inhibitors
  • COMT inhibitors
  • amantadine.

No drug or surgery has been shown to be superior to levodopa for PD, so avoiding levodopa may result in worse overall quality of life.” Michael J. Fox Foundation

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