Parkinson Canada reaches out to pharmacists to enhance their ability to advise people living with the disease

Pharmacy Module
Online learning module for pharmacists

It’s no surprise that pharmacists are an important member of the health care team for a person with Parkinson’s. Pharmacists advise them about their medications, potential side effects and possible adverse interactions with other medications. Taking medication as prescribed and on time is an important factor in living well with this degenerative brain disease.

With this in mind, Parkinson Canada is launching an online learning module, especially designed to help pharmacists understand Parkinson’s medications and advise their patients living with the disease. We encourage people living with Parkinson’s and their care partners to share this news with their own pharmacist and other members of their health care team.

“Parkinson’s disease is a complex neurological disease and is best treated by a team of health care professionals,” says Grace Ferrari, Senior Manager, Education & Support, for Parkinson Canada.  “Pharmacists are a primary source of information for patients about medications, not only their prescription drugs to treat Parkinson’s, but also over-the-counter medications, and interactions between food and drugs. We know that the practice of pharmacy is evolving from one of dispensing medication to one of patient-centredness, so it is important that we provide this online learning module to help pharmacists quickly identify their patients’ needs and provide the most relevant help.”

The module Parkinson’s Disease Management was developed by Dr. Greta Mah, the clinical pharmacist for the Parkinson’s Management Program and the Geriatric Day Hospital at North York General Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

The learning module uses case scenarios to provide learners with a better understanding of drug treatment options at the different stages of Parkinson’s disease. After completing the module, pharmacists will be able to:

  • Recommend adjustments to medications based on the individual’s motor complications and different stages of the disease;
  • Recognize and manage various non-motor symptoms commonly experienced by patients with Parkinson’s; and
  • Describe the role of the pharmacist in providing care to patients at different stages of the disease.

In addition to the learning module, Parkinson Canada will test a pilot application (app) accessible by mobile phone or tablet this week during the World Parkinson Congress 2016 in Portland, Oregon. A potential resource for both health care practitioners and people with Parkinson’s, the medication app will provide the health care provider with the most relevant treatment options and aims to develop patients’ self-management skills.

“We are very excited to share this application at the World Parkinson Congress,” says Grace Ferrari. “With more than 4,000 people onsite, it’s the perfect opportunity to gather expert feedback on the tool from all the key potential user groups including patients, care partners and a variety of health care professionals and researchers.”

Tejal Patel, BScPharm, PharmD, and Feng Chang, BScPharm, PharmD, are the experts behind the app. They also wrote the 2015 article “Practice recommendations for Parkinson’s disease:  Assessment and management by community pharmacists” for the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.  Patel and Chang are also the authors of a Parkinson Canada medication booklet, currently in production. It will be a comprehensive resource for people living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers and medical professionals. We’ll keep you informed on when these resources become available. Visit our websites at: and for updates on these and other educational resources.

Pharmacists, or other health care professionals, can register for the Parkinson’s Disease Management online learning module by completing the online registration form. A fee of $30 applies.