Managing Medications for Hospital Patients With Parkinson Disease

Dorothy J. Moore; Bonnie M. Smith; Maria H. Cho


Am Nurs Journal. 2017;12(1) 

In This Article

Dietary Tips for Patients With PD

Certain medications (consult a pharmacist as to which ones) should be taken 30 minutes before or 1 to 2 hours after a protein meal to allow the drug to reach the small intestine and absorb faster. Although an empty stomach aids medication absorption, some PD medications can cause nausea. To help prevent nausea, give a carbohydrate snack (such as crackers, toast, oatmeal, or applesauce) with the medication. Some patients find ginger tea also helps.

Because L-dopa competes for dietary protein absorption, patients generally should avoid protein-rich meals around the same time as L-dopa doses. Some may follow a protein redistribution diet similar to this:

  • They eat meat, fish, and other protein foods at dinner, because they're typically sedentary after dinner.

  • They eat meals based mainly on grains, fruits, and vegetables during the day, when they generally want to be active and need the benefits of L-dopa the most.

Constipation, a nonmotor symptom of PD, may be exacerbated by such medications as opioid analgesics, diuretics, and iron supplements. To help patients avoid constipation, encourage them to drink water (as medically advised); eat dietary sources of fibers, such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits; and take a daily stool softener and fiber supplement as appropriate.