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Some Tips for Managing All of Your Parkinson’s Disease Medications



Updated April 28, 2009

Ongoing Management of Your Medications

So you have created a list of your medications along with a regimen for when and how to take them. Now one more list is in order.

Create a list of potential serious side effects to look for. These are the side effects that would require immediate notification of your doctor or a trip to the emergency room of your nearest hospital. The list should not be long, but you and your caregiver should be aware of any warning signs associated with potential side effects of your meds.

Dealing with Wearing Off and the On-Off Effects of Your Meds

The wearing–off effect refers to the fact that the benefits you receive from your PD meds wear off before you are due to receive your next dose. So, you may go for several minutes -- even hours -- with relatively uncontrolled motor symptoms of PD (like tremors, postural instability etc.) rearing their ugly heads again. When this happens, your neurologist may adjust your dosages or shorten the time between doses or add other medications.

The on-off effect is different from the wearing off effect. The on-off effect refers to times when the person with PD is fine one minute and then motorically impaired the next minute, despite no change in dose or drug.

Both the wearing off and on-off effects can to some extent be ameliorated by adjusting dosage levels or delivery methods of the dose. For example, continuous release forms of levodopa/carbidopa may reduce frequency of on-off episodes.

If you think you could benefit from a medication/dosage change, speak with your doctor first.


Sharma, N. (2008). Biographies of Disease: Parkinson's Disease. Greenwood Press; Westport CT.

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