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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

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Drug Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

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Medication Guidelines for Parkinson's Disease

There is no "cookbook" approach to the successful use of medications. You and your doctor will have to determine the best treatment approach for you.

Below are general guidelines to taking your medication. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist for guidelines specific to your treatment.

  • Do not split pills, or pull capsules apart unless directed by your doctor.
  • Drink six to 10 glasses of water a day.
  • Warm baths or physical activity may help with digestion and absorption of your medication.
  • Know the names of your medications and how they work. Know the generic and brand names, dosages, and potential side effects. Always keep a list of your medications and their dosages with you, and exactly how you are taking them. Keep the list with you in your wallet or purse.
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking or change your medications unless you talk to your doctor first. Even if you feel good, continue to take your medications. Stopping your medications suddenly can make your condition worse.
  • Do not double the dose of your medication.
  • Have a routine for taking your medications. Take them at the same time each day. Get a pillbox that is marked with the days of the week, and fill it at the beginning of the week to make it easier to remember.
  • Keep a drug calendar and note every time you take a dose.
  • If you miss a dose of your medication at the scheduled time, don't panic. Take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular medication schedule. Set an alarm clock if necessary.
  • Do not keep outdated drugs. Dispose of unused medications as instructed on the drug label or patient information sheet. You can also check with your pharmacist about proper disposal methods.
  • Store drugs in a dry area away from moisture (unless your doctor or pharmacist tells you the medicine needs to be refrigerated).
  • Always keep medications out of the reach of children.
  • Know what side effects to expect from your medications. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual or unexpected side effects after taking your medication.
  • Do not share your medications with others.
  • Keep your medications in your carry-on luggage when you travel. Do not pack your medications in a suitcase that is checked, in case the suitcase is lost.
  • Take extra medication with you when you travel in case your flight is delayed and you need to stay away longer than planned.
  • Do not wait until you are completely out of medication before filling your prescriptions; call the pharmacy at least 48-hours before running out. If you have trouble getting to the pharmacy, have financial concerns or have other problems that make it difficult for you to get your medications, let your doctor know. A social worker may be available to help you.

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