Balancing Sleep and Motor Symptoms: A Case Report of Managing Insomnia in Parkinson’s Disease

Research Publications | 2 Minute Read

Meghan Ha, Nishita S. Amin, Katie Meyers, Jacques Turgeon and Chandni Bardolia

Abstract

Objective: The management of insomnia presents as a challenge for many Parkinson’s disease patients and their care teams. Insomnia in patients with Parkinson’s disease may be attributed to the side effect profile of several medications that are commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, the progression of the disease is associated with disruption of circadian rhythms, nocturnal symptoms, blunted melatonin secretion, and late melatonin onset. This case report aims to demonstrate how a patient’s Parkinson’s medication profile could be optimized to control motor symptoms and reduce the occurrence of insomnia through the use of comprehensive medication review services.

Case report: A 71-year-old male with Parkinson’s disease was developing severe symptoms of tardive dyskinesia due to his chronic carbidopa/ levodopa/entacapone therapy. In order to address the tardive dyskinesia, entacapone was discontinued and amantadine was initiated to offset the stiffness and bradykinesia. The addition of amantadine resulted in nightmares and poor sleep quality, even though the patient was already taking mirtazapine to treat his depressive status and insomnia. The patient’s healthcare team collaborated with a clinical pharmacist to adjust the Parkinson’s disease regimen and mirtazapine dosage, all of which resulted in notable improvements in his reported insomnia and quality of life.

Discussion and Conclusion: Optimizing motor control in patients with Parkinson’s disease, while mitigating insomnia side effects of medications can be a very complex process. The main goal for patients who encounter this problem is to enhance their Parkinson’s disease therapy by identifying medications that can contribute to insomnia while addressing the patient’s symptoms and disease progression. Alternative treatments to manage insomnia in patients with Parkinson’s disease should also be considered, including the addition of melatonin and/or the use of bright light therapy.

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