Next in a new series of blogs titled ‘Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease – Sorting the Motherhood Stuff’, Drs Natalie Palavra and Paul Silberstein discuss ‘Medications in Parkinson’s Disease’.
Dr Palavra introduces the blog in this short video.
Why is medication adherence important in PD?
Together with exercise and maintaining overall wellbeing, medications are a key component in managing Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Irregular medication timetables or missing medication doses can lead to poor symptom control, such as worsening tremor and fluctuations in motor symptoms. It can also affect quality of life, sleep, mood, fatigue, cognition and other non-motor features of PD.
PD medications work best when taken at fixed times throughout the day. Sticking to a regular regimen can be difficult, but doing so is the one of the best ways to optimise symptom control.
Useful tips to improve adherence to your medication regimen
Set an alarm on your phone or smart watch to remind you to take your medications at the same time every day. Use the snooze button for times when taking medication is impractical. This way you will be reminded again in a short period of time. Only turn off the alarm once you have taken the dose.
Set reminders in your diary to fill your prescriptions on time.
2. Medication aids
Consider preparing pillboxes or a pharmacy-prepared Webster pack. Be sure to take your medications with you when you go out.
3. Simplify the regimen
Talk to your doctor about simplifying your medication regimen. For example, ask whether there are other treatment options, or whether long acting or slow release medications might be a good option for you.
4. Tailor your regimen to daily habits
Think about ways to fit in your medications around your daily habits such as when you first wake up, around meal times, before going to work, brushing your teeth etc.
5. Involve family members / carers
Sometimes involving family or carers in dispensing your medications on time can be helpful.
6. Take control!
Empower yourself with knowledge about your treatment.
Straka, I. et al. Adherence to Pharmacotherapy in Patient With Parkinson’s Disease Taking Three and More Daily Doses of Medication. Frontiers in Neurology (2019) 10, 799.
Fleisher, J., Stern, M. Medication Non-adherence in Parkinson’s Disease. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports (2013),13(10).
Shin, J., Habermann, B., Pretzer-Aboff, I. Challenges and strategies of medication adherence in Parkinson’s disease: A qualitative study. Geriatric Nursing (2015), 36 (3), 192-196.