One of the first decisions anyone newly diagnosed with Parkinson's confronts is whether to start taking medication and, if so, what that medication should be. There are many factors to consider in making this choice, starting with a very basic question: Are you able to do what you want to do as well as you can do it?
In this podcast, Thomas Davis, MD, a professor of neurology and director of the Division of Movement Disorders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, spoke to MJFF about how doctors and patients work together to create a medication regimen.
"It is always a partnership, I think, with any symptomatic therapy," says Dr. Davis. "It's a combination of what the person is complaining of and my clinical experience in how I think I can treat that. So if a Parkinson's patient later in disease has speech difficulty, and my clinical experience is that that speech difficulty rarely, if ever, responds to a change in medication, I wouldn't recommend a change in medication. I'd recommend speech therapy."
Dr. Davis also is a strong proponent of exercise for people with Parkinson's.
"There is increasing evidence that exercise delays disability in Parkinson's. So if you're undertreated to the point that you can't or don't feel like exercising, not only are you not helping yourself, you're probably hurting yourself in the long run by being undertreated."
Hear more from Dr. Davis in our next Third Thursdays Webinar: "How Doctors Choose Parkinson's Medications" on September 15, 2016, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.