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PD Psychosis

Visual hallucinations, illusions and delusions are common symptoms classified under PD Psychosis. A hallucination occurs when a person believes they see, smell, hear or feel something that is not actually there. An illusion is a misperception of something that is there. A delusion is a form of self-deception in which there is a false belief despite false evidence that the belief is false. Sometimes, people with PD may also feel a "sense of presence" like someone or something else may be in the room with them when they are not. Many people with PD may also experience vivid dreams at night that can be perceived as waking versions or delusional thoughts.

If you or your loved one notices any of these symptoms, it is important to fully characterize the behavior and identify any other issues you may be experiencing. These are common symptoms and nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about them with your doctor can help you understand specific treatment and medication options that may be able to help minimize these experiences.

The FDA approved pimavanserin in 2016 as the first and only drug specifically used to treat Parkinson's disease psychosis. It is not a dopamine-blocking drug and acts on serotonin receptors like antidepressants. There are fewer side effects with this medication than other antipsychotics and does not typically worsen motor symptoms often caused by other antipsychotic medications.

Additional Antipsychotic medications that are suitable for use in people with PD include clozapine and quetiapine. Clozapine can be used effectively in low doses to help manage psychosis common in PD. Additional risks of clozapine use can include seizures, heart inflammation, low blood pressure and fainting.

Quetiapine has been widely used for people with PDP to help treat hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis. Common side effects include dizziness, dry mouth and weight gain.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this Parkinson Association of Alabama Resource Center is for awareness and educational purposes only about Parkinson's medication. The PAA does not endorse any specific brand or type of medication. All discussions about medication should be between you, your care partner, and your medical teams.

Sources:

Davis Phinney Foundation. Parkinson's Treatments and Therapies. Chapter 7 - Medication. Page 115. Every Victory Counts. "Manual." Sixth Edition, 2021.

Parkinson's Foundation. Medications. A Treatment Guide to Parkinson's Disease. "Brochure."

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