Treating Non-motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s

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March 15, 2010 — The American Academy of Neurology has issued newguidelines outlining what it says are the most effective treatments fornon-motor symptoms common in people with Parkinson’s disease.

These include sleep disturbances, fatigue, constipation, and sexualproblems, which the AAN says are often unrecognized symptoms.

The guidelines say that:

  • Erectile dysfunction, which is common, can be treated with the drugsildenafil citrate.
  • Constipation can be improved by the drug isosmotic macrogol.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness can often be treated with modafinil, whichhelps people feel more awake.
  • Fatigue may be eased by taking the drug methylphenidate.

“While the main symptom of Parkinson’s disease is movement problems, thereare many other symptoms to be aware of, including sleep disorders,constipation, and problems with urination and sexual function,” says leadguideline author Theresa Z. Zesiewicz, MD, of the University of South Florida.”Without treatment, these symptoms can cause as much pain and discomfort asmovement problems and greatly affect daily routines and quality of life.”

Two questionnaire tests are available to help identify non-motor symptoms ofParkinson’s, the guideline says, though people should talk to their doctorsabout whether the rating systems might actually prove helpful.

The guideline information is published in the March 16 issue ofNeurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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