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    • #18483
      Robert Harris

      In this episode of “Do You Know How to Take Your Medicine?” we address how to take pills. This topic might not be of interest to many readers, because, after all, how many Parkies actually take pills? Okay, I admit that I take a handful, many times a day. I’ll bet you do, too. But do you know how to take them safely and effectively? If not, follow these guidelines.

      1. If you have lots of pills to take at each dosing, separate them into little piles of three or four.

      2. Put the pills from one pile in your mouth and add a good swig of water.

      3. Slosh the pills around in your mouth in order to get all of them fully wet. (The dry edges are the ones that stick in your throat.)

      4. Bend your head forward until your chin nearly touches your chest, and swallow the pills. (This maneuver prevents  you from aspirating the pills into your lungs.)

      5. Drink some water.

      6. Repeat until you have taken all of the pills.

      7. Eat a handful of raisins.

      Why, you may ask, should you eat some raisins after taking your pills? If you have ever had that sensation that one or more of your pills didn’t go all the way down, and more sips of water don’t help, then this step is obvious. A bunch of raisins supply maybe 20 or 30 individual, small, sweet and tasty pieces of pleasure that will push the sticky pill(s) on down into your stomach, where they  belong. Raisins are a good choice because they are low protein (and as you know, protein and levodopa just don’t play well together). Peanuts, for example, would not be a good choice because of their high protein content. Finally, the grocery store stocks little boxes of raisins in 1/2 ounce and 1 ounce sizes. These are oh,  so handy at pill time.

      And, of course, rewarding yourself with a sweet, fun snack (only 40 calories!) each time you have to chug down those nasty necessities, makes pill time less onerous.



    • #18494
      Phil Gattis

      Hello, Robert.

      Thanks for this essay.  The only point I would add – you could call it step 1)a: If you have both capsules and pills, put them in separate piles.

      I’ve found that, for the 3 or 4 pills taken together, keeping them roughly the same size helps them to go down easier.  I can take a mouthful of 5 capsules without a problem, but it’s asking for trouble to take 1 capsule together with 2 or 3 pills.

      Hope that makes sense.

    • #18519
      Sara Kerr


      Thanks for the good information!

      I have heard that with Rytary, in particular, to drink an entire glass of water with it and that carbonated water helps it digest faster.

      I’m wondering if this is true.

    • #18572
      Robert Harris

      In this episode of How to Take Your Medicine, we offer some information about where to stick the Neupro patches.  Those Parkies with too much free time might have tried to read the full monograph that comes with each 30 patches, but having access to the Cliff’s Notes version (or is it the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books version?) might provide a welcome alternative to the tens of thousands of words in the monograph.

      The issue with the Neupro patch is that the directions say not to stick today’s new patch on any of the places on your body that you put a patch previously, within 14 days. That means you need to identify at least 14 places on your body to put the patches. (And do take the manufacturer’s advice. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blotchy red spots where the previous patch was, and you’ll find it quite sensitive to hot water, as you might find in a bath or shower.)

      So, as a public service, we hereby offer you a map identifying not 14, but 16 places you can use to patch yourself up (so to speak). Since I am unskilled at mounting a graphic on this blog, I will describe the locations to you.

      1. Outside right arm at the shoulder.

      2. Outside left arm at the shoulder.

      3. Front of right leg, just below the hip.

      4. Front of left leg, just below the hip.

      5. Right side of your stomach, a few inches above your belly button.

      6. Left side of your stomach, a few inches above your belly button.

      7. Back of the left arm, a few inches above the elbow.

      8. Back of the right arm, a few inches above the elbow.

      9. In back of your left side, above your bottom.

      10. In back of your right side, above your bottom.

      11. Right side of your stomach, slightly down from your belly button.

      12. Left side  you your stomach, slightly down from your belly button.

      13. Front of right leg, just above your knee.

      14. Front of left leg, just above your knee.

      15. Front of your right arm, just above your elbow joint.

      16. Front of your left arm,  just above your elbow joint.

      Sixteen places on your body allows you to draw up a calendar with a different attachment spot matched to each day of the month, as in “On the first day of the month, patch on position 1, the outside right arm at the shoulder,” or “On the twenty second of the month, patch on position 6, the left side of your stomach, a few inches above your belly button.” (That assumes you are using all 16 positions.) You won’t get to the same position until after 16 days, which should make the manufacturer happy that you are following the instructions.

      Now all you have to remember is what day it is.

    • #18670

      And raisins help with another PD issue: constipation! (I’m a care partner.)

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