Because anesthetic medications can interact with Parkinson's medication, and because Parkinson's puts people at higher risk of experiencing side effects from anesthesia, your care team must understand these risks. Most people with Parkinson's tolerate anesthesia well. Still, special considerations are required, especially related to the timing of medications before and after surgery and the potential for neuropsychiatric problems, such as psychosis and confusion often following anesthesia.
Typically, it is not recommended to stop taking your Parkinson's medications before receiving anesthesia. To ensure you continue to receive your medications on time during procedures requiring extended anesthesia, your hospital care team may be able to administer carbidopa/levodopa through a nasogastric tube. As we have stressed, you or your care partner must stress to your hospital team how crucial it is to receive your medications on schedule.
Talk to your care team to see if you can avoid general anesthesia, which puts you completely to sleep. Instead, you could consider receiving local anesthesia, which numbs only one or a few body parts and tends to cause fewer side effects. Know, too, that if you experience worsening or new symptoms, such as psychosis, following anesthesia, this is typically short-lived. For questions about side effects and other risks, be sure to communicate with your physician, anesthesiologist, and other care team members.
Disclaimer: At PAA, our desire is to be a GO TO Resource for everything you need for the Parkinson's diagnosis to live a quality life with PD. We want to make sure you have all resources you need as you plan your journey with Parkinson's now and into the future so that you can reflect and discern what decisions you want to make with the appropriate insights to help you choose and build a plan that is unique as your journey. The PAA, nor the contents on this website, should never be a replacement for professional expertise and guidance from medical, legal, or financial professionals. Our goal is to equip you for those conversations. As such, the PAA cannot be held accountable for your choices and outcomes while navigating your Parkinson's condition.
The Davis Phinney Foundation. Chapter 14. General Health and Wellness. Every Victory Counts. Page 251. "Manual." Sixth edition. 2021.