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Is delaying medication harmful?

Wednesday March 14, 2012

Given that the medications only treat the symptoms, and do not cure the disease, does the disease progress any faster if a person does not take all medications recommended by the doctor?  I am not a big fan of taking pills especially given all the possible side effects.

Taking the right medicine, at the right time, in the right amount is the correct answer.  Certain principles do apply.  Abnormal movement patterns and difficulty with movement (such as stiffness, slowness, and loss of fluid movements) due to PD can lead to changes in a person’s activity level, new habits in how we move, and overtime our movement becomes less and less like the pattern of movement normal to a person prior to PD.  It is thought that waiting too long or under-dosing your medicine can worsen your movement and lead to this cascade of events that can further change how you move.

What is not known is if this actually exaggerates the brain changes of PD?  Before your doctor’s visit, think about how your movement is changing and whether you are doing things differently due to these changes. Are you not using your hand as much for tasks due to tremor or other problems? Is walking changed? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort?

Just as under-dosing can be a problem so can overdosing so be sure to talk with your doctor about the right medicine timing for you.  Learn more about medication and side effects.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Medical Director, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation

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