New guidelines on Parkinson’s disease released by NICE

Woman with Parkinson's disease

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), England’s health technology assessment body, has released new clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s disease in adults aged 18 years and over[1]

The updated guidelines, released on 19 July 2017, aim to improve care from the time of diagnosis, including monitoring and managing symptoms, providing information and support, and palliative care.

Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust neurology specialist pharmacist Janine Barnes was a member of the guideline development group for the Parkinson’s disease update, the first time there has been pharmacist involvement in this area. According to Barnes, from a pharmacy angle, the main changes to the guidelines concern the use of levodopa as a first-line option for patients with motor problems and protein re-distribution.

“[It recommends that] the main protein load is taken in the evening when patients are prescribed levodopa so as to prevent any potential protein interaction occurring with food,” she explains.

“There is [also] greater emphasis on multidisciplinary team working and on the role of therapy in the management of Parkinson’s disease, and specifically with therapists trained in the area of Parkinson’s disease rather than generalists.”

Other areas covered by the guidelines which are aimed at healthcare professionals, commissioners and providers, and adults with Parkinson’s disease, their families and carers include communication with people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers; pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of motor and non-motor symptoms; and impulse control disorders.

The next review date for the guidelines is July 2019.


[1] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Parkinson’s disease in adults. July 2017. Available at: (accessed July 2017)

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, August 2017, Vol 299, 7904;299(7904):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203225

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