Podcast Episode 96: PD Medications and Side Effects

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Adverse effects, often called side effects, are a common phenomenon that accompanies the use of many drugs, including ones used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Any treatment is a balance between the desired effects of a drug and undesirable ones, so how to best ease symptoms while making the treatment tolerable. Specific to classes of drugs used for PD, some of the side effects may be drowsiness, insomnia, light headedness, hallucinations, cognitive impairment, swelling of the legs, dry mouth, weight gain, compulsive behavior, and others. These are just possibilities, and a good working relationship with a PD health care team can help avoid many of them. Beyond the PD team, keeping other health care providers informed is advisable since drug interactions can occur, so all practitioners (including dentists) should be aware of all medications that a person is taking, prescription, over-the-counter and even supplements.

In this podcast episode, neurologist Dr. Irene Richard of the University of Rochester Medical Center discusses several of the various drugs and drug classes used to treat the symptoms of PD in relation to the adverse effects that can accompany them. She offers insights into several ways to avoid or minimize adverse effects of drug therapy, what clinicians should tell people starting a new drug, and what people should ask as well as be aware of and report back.

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About This Episode

Released: December 29, 2020

IreneIrene Richard, MD

Dr. Irene H. Richard is Professor of Neurology with a secondary appointment in Psychiatry at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. After graduating from Cornell University in 1987 and receiving her MD from the Yale University School of Medicine in1991, Dr. Richard completed neurology residency at the University of Rochester in 1995, followed by NIH-funded fellowship training in Movement Disorders and Experimental Therapeutics in 1997. She joined the faculty of the University of Rochester in 1997. Dr. Richard provides neurological care for patients with Parkinson’s disease and related conditions and her clinical research program focuses on the psychiatric aspects of these illnesses. More recently, with support from a PF community grant, she has also been working with her team on efforts to optimize hospitalization for patients with PD. She is the author of numerous scientific articles, editorials and book chapters and has been the recipient of career development awards and research grants, including one from NIH to lead a multi-center clinical trial evaluating the treatment of depression in PD.  Dr. Richard is Director of the University of Rochester’s Movement Disorders Fellowship Program, LBDA Research Center of Excellence, and Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence.

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For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.

For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Understanding Bradykinesia and Dyskinesia”.


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