A 'first' for Parkinson's disease sufferers

As many as 6,000 sufferers of Parkinson's Disease in Wales, UK are to benefit from an unique telephone counselling service, which is the first of its kind in Europe.

Pharmacists at Cardiff University's Welsh School of Pharmacy have created a Medicines Information Helpline for patients with Parkinson's disease, their carers and healthcare professionals.

Impetus for the service stems from the fact that no cure currently exists for Parkinson's Disease and medical treatment is solely directed towards alleviating the symptoms.

"Patients are likely to be receiving multiple drug therapy and may experience a number of complications. The patient's good knowledge of medication is, therefore, of paramount importance in managing their treatment," said Dr Sam Salek, Director of the Centre of Socioeconomic Research in the Welsh School of Pharmacy, who is responsible for developing the service.

The helpline, staffed by experienced pharmacists, provides independent expert advice on medicines to patients with Parkinson's disease, their carers and any healthcare professional.

Typically, queries include: How do over-the-counter preparations or alternative medicines affect existing Parkinson medicines? What are the side effects of Parkinson's medicines on driving? What do I do if I forget to take a dose of Parkinson's medicine? What medicines can Parkinson's disease patients safely take to treat other conditions? What new medicines are available to treat Parkinson's? What new research is currently under way on Parkinson's Disease?

Dr Salek's work on medicines evaluation and quality-of-life issues for Parkinson's Disease patients has attracted funding and support from the Parkinson's Disease Society and the Department of Health over the past three years. Most recently a collaboration between the Centre and the Welsh Medicines Information Centre (WMIC) has enabled a six-month pilot of the Medicines Information Helpline.

"The h

Contact: Dr. Sam Salek
Cardiff University

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