Clinical Challenges: Sleep Problems in Parkinson’s Patients

Meds that improve some symptoms can exacerbate others.

Roughly three out of four people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) also have sleep disorders, and there is growing recognition that sleep problems are greatly complicated by the disease, its symptoms, and the many medications used to treat it.

“Sleep disorders are among the most common non-motor symptoms in PD, and sleep is something clinicians have to continually monitor when considering medication dosing,” Scott Kutscher, MD, of Stanford School of Medicine in California, told MedPage Today.

“Sleep issues can appear years before the classic motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, but it has only been relatively recently that sleep has become part of the diagnostic workup of the disorder,” he added.

Insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep fragmentation, circadian rhythm disorders, restless leg syndrome, and rapid eye movement (REM) behavior disorder are all common in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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