How can medicines be managed for Parkinson’s disease patients with swallowing difficulties?

Source Medicines Information, NHS Greater Glasgow and ClydePublished

It is crucial that Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients receive their medications on time as PD drugs stopped for any significant length of time may lead to neuroleptic malignant like syndrome (Parkinsonism hyperpyrexia syndrome) which may be fatal, as well as causing significant exacerbation of symptoms and patient distress. PD patients should be referred to PD specialists on admission to hospital as they are best placed to assess the patient and make recommendations on therapy. Alternative formulations or routes of therapy need to be considered in patients with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) or who are nil by mouth.  Advice on this should be sought from a PD specialist or local guidance if available.  Pharmacists can provide advice on the use of alternative formulations of medicines.  In all cases, early referral is recommended to enable medicine administration problems to be prevented before missed doses occur.

This medicines Q&A aims to provide information regarding how to manage PD patients’ medication if they have swallowing difficulties on admission to hospital.