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Managing the Effects of Parkinson’s Disease

The American Academy of Neurology has published a new guideline to help people with Parkinson’s disease cope with common, albeit often unrecognized symptoms.

The guide recommends the most effective treatments to help people with Parkinson’s disease who experience sleep, constipation, and sexual problems.

The instruction is published in the current issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“While the main symptom of Parkinson’s disease is movement problems, there are many other symptoms to be aware of, including sleep disorders, constipation, and problems with urination and sexual function,” said lead guideline author Theresa A. Zesiewicz, MD, with the University of South Florida in Tampa and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Without treatment, these symptoms can cause as much pain and discomfort as movement problems and greatly affect daily routines and quality of life.”

Sexual problems often affect people with Parkinson’s disease. In men with Parkinson’s, erectile dysfunction is common. According to the guideline, the drug sildenafil citrate may improve erectile dysfunction.

The guideline also found the drug isosmotic macrogol may improve constipation in people with Parkinson’s disease.

For problems with excessive daytime sleepiness, the guideline recommends that doctors consider the drug modafinil to help people feel more awake.

However, it’s important to note that one study showed people taking modafinil had a false sense of alertness. This may pose a safety risk for activities such as driving.

The guideline also found the drug methylphenidate may help with fatigue.

The guideline mentions two tests to help identify nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One is the NMSQuest rating scale. The other is the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). The original UPDRS mainly tests for movement problems.

Doctors use the updated version of the UPDRS to test for all Parkinson’s symptoms, including those unrelated to movements. People with Parkinson’s disease should talk to their doctor about whether these tests may be helpful.

“More research is needed into these symptoms of Parkinson’s disease since there are still a lot of unknown answers as to what causes these symptoms and how they can best be treated to improve lives,” said Zesiewicz.

Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN)

Managing the Effects of Parkinson’s Disease

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Managing the Effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/17/managing-the-effects-of-parkinsons-disease/12197.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.