Getting the most out of your medication review

A medication review is an important part of managing your Parkinson’s. Here, Parkinson’s nurse Patsy Cotton explains what a review is, and how you can make the most of the appointment. 

What is a medication review?

A medication review is an opportunity to talk with a healthcare professional about the medication you're taking and to make sure your medication is managing your symptoms well. It also gives you a chance to raise concerns about any side effects you may be experiencing, or any general questions you have. 

The person doing the review will be a registered prescriber, which means they are able to prescribe medication. You may have a review with your specialist or Parkinson’s nurse as part of your appointment at a clinic. Your GP or community pharmacist can also carry out medication reviews.

How can I make the most of a medication review?

It’s helpful to think about the review ahead of your appointment.   

Prepare an up-to-date record of all the medication you are taking (not just for Parkinson’s), and what time you take each dose. This is especially important if the review is taking place on a phone or video call. If you are having a face-to-face appointment, it’s helpful to bring your medication with you.

Think about:

  • Have you been experiencing any new symptoms since your last review?
  • What has been working well for you?
  • Has anything not been working well?
  • Have your family or friends noticed any changes they feel you should talk to your healthcare professional about?
  • Have you experienced any difficulties swallowing your tablets?
  • Do you have any questions about your medication? You might find it helpful to write these down and bring the list with you to the appointment so you don’t forget anything. 
  • If you have had deep brain stimulation, or have a duodopa pump or apomorphine, do you have drugs you can take by mouth in case the device fails? Do the expiry dates of these drugs need checking?

What happens at the appointment?

The review is your time to discuss anything that is affecting you and to help you manage your Parkinson’s. 

You may be asked if you are able to take your drugs properly, or if you are experiencing any side effects from your medication. The healthcare professional you are seeing will also ask you about if you are taking your medication on time and remind you of how important it is to do that. 

It’s important to be honest at the review so your healthcare professional can get a good understanding of how well your medication is working. 

If everything is going well, nothing may be changed. But if there are any ongoing issues, your medication may be adjusted or new medications added to your regimen.

What happens after the appointment?

You might find it helpful to keep a diary if your specialist starts you on a new drug, changes your medication or adjusts the dose or frequency. Record the dose and time you took the drug and what happened to your symptoms. This can help you decide together on how well the drug is working. 

You should speak to your Parkinson’s nurse if you are having difficulties with your medication between appointments. You can also ask your community pharmacist if there’s anything you don’t understand about your medication or any symptoms you are particularly worried about. 

If you are experiencing impulsive and compulsive behaviours or the person you care for is, it’s important you request a medication review with your specialist or Parkinson's nurse as soon as possible. They can make changes to your medication regime or adjust the doses to control this side effect.