Patient Education for Parkinson's Disease Drugs

Providing patients with disease and treatment related information is an important role that we can play as physical therapists in helping to improve their quality of life. While levodopa has remained the most effective treatment for improving motor function in Parkinson’s patients, it comes with several dangerous side effects, as mentioned previously. The biggest problem of levodopa, however, seems to be its weakened efficacy after prolonged use, typically 3-4 years[1]. For a patient who has experienced significant gain in their symptoms, this can be extremely devastating. With knowledge of this as a physical therapist, we can recommend them discussing with their physician on initial use of an alternative drug, specifically Monoamine Oxidase B Inhibitors[2]. Another important piece of education to our patients is on orthostatic hypotension. Patients should avoid sudden postural changes and getting up too fast. For patients getting out of bed, it would be advisable to sit on the side of the bed for about 30 seconds before standing and then standing for 30 more seconds before walking in order to prevent falls.

References:

  1. Aminoff MJ. Pharmacologic management of parkinsonism and other movement disorders. Katzung BG, Masters SB, Trevor AJ, eds. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. 12th ed. New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw Hill. 2012
  2. Chen JJ, Wilkinson JR. The monoamine oxidase type B inhibitor rasagiline in the treatment of Parkinson disease: is tyramine a challenge? PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21628600. May, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2018.