Tanner Foundation Neurological Conference

The Tanner Foundation for Neurological Diseases will host its annual Neurological Conference on October 3, 2017 from 8am – 4pm at the Canterbury Methodist Church conference facility in Birmingham.

Approved CEU tracks will be available – ALS, MS and Parkinson’s Disease – with experts from each field of practice speaking in regard to the latest update in diagnosis and treatment practice parameters. For example, a new medication has been approved for ALS – the first medication in over 20 years, which is very exciting and encouraging.

Click this link to register for the conference or obtain additional information.

Online Survey Participants Needed: Alabama PD Patients and Caregivers

Find a Cure Panel (FACP) specializes in patient research for rare and serious diseases and they have some confidential and anonymous online research for people and caregivers with PD. If you complete the survey, FACP will donate $50 to the Parkinson’s Association of Alabama.

The completed survey is tracked anonymously off the customized link below.

To qualify for this online survey,

1)      You or your loved must have had PD for 5+ years;

2)      a) Your or your loved one must have or had experience with DBS OR b) be currently on Sinemet or Rytary or their generics.

3)      PD must have some impact on your life. If you have NO off time then you will not qualify for this research.

4)      It’s best to take the survey on a computer/ipad/tablet and NOT a smart phone.

If you are interested in participating, please click on the survey link below.

Survey link

If you have any questions about participating, please email FACP at

Ask the MD: Generic Drugs and Parkinson’s

By Rachel Dolhun, MD

Generic medications are substitutes for brand name drugs. They’re typically less expensive, widely available and commonly prescribed. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generics account for nearly 90 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States. And, they can save consumers and hospitals significant amounts in health care costs.

In the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD), one of the best-known generics is the immediate release form of carbidopa/levodopa, which substitutes for Sinemet. Recently, rasagiline — the generic of Azilect (an MAO-B inhibitor) — came on the market. With it, questions arose as to what generics really are, how they gain approval and what to consider when taking them.

Generics Are the Same as Brand Name Drugs
Generic drugs are essentially identical to their brand name counterparts. (More about this below.) They:

  • are equal in strength (number of milligrams),
  • come in the same dosage form (tablet or capsule, for example) and
  • are administered via the same route (e.g., oral, inhaler, skin patch).

Generics are prescribed for the same reason as the brand name (i.e., to treat dyskinesia or ease motor symptoms). Modifications that don’t impact the generic’s efficacy or safety are allowed, so drugs may vary in shape, color, flavor or packaging.

FDA Is Responsible for Approving Generics
Companies that wish to make generic medications must submit an application to the FDA that includes data on the drug’s effectiveness and safety. The active ingredient of the generic (the part that provides treatment) must be the same as that in the brand drug, and it must be absorbed by the body at the same rate and to the same extent. (Up to a 20 percent difference in a drug’s absorption is acceptable.) The inactive components (anything other than the active ingredient) must be safe. To demonstrate these properties, clinical trials often are conducted in which volunteers take both brand name and generic formulations (at separate times). Generic manufacturers also supply information on exactly how and where drugs will be produced, and the FDA inspects facilities to ensure generic production will be consistent and reliable.

Generics Can Be Marketed When Patents Expire
Generics can’t be marketed until a brand name drug’s patent and other exclusivities expire. (That’s why there may be a long lag time between generic drug approval and marketing.) These protections grant, among other things, the sole right to the brand name drug maker to sell the medication for a defined period of time so that they can recover some of the drug development costs. (Drug development takes up to a decade and a billion dollars because of the extensive clinical testing involved.) Patent and exclusivity periods may run concurrently but lengths vary depending on a number of factors; patents may last 20 years and exclusivities up to seven. Once these expire, generics can be marketed, typically at a much cheaper price than the brand name because they don’t require lengthy and expensive clinical trials. As multiple generics for the same brand name come on the market, competition can drive costs down even further.

Considerations for Taking Generic Medications in Parkinson’s
If generic medications are available, you may want to take them because of the financial savings. The best way to figure out if generics are an option is to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist. In some situations, your health insurance provider may require that you use the generic option. If, for some reason, you or your doctor prefer the brand name drug, this must be specified on your prescription and you may have a higher out-of-pocket payment. (Learn more about financial and other assistance programs for obtaining medications here.) If you do switch to generic from the brand name:

  • monitor for new side effects, which may be the same as those for the brand name, but could potentially differ due to inactive ingredients in the generic, and
  • pay attention to any changes in your PD. These would relate to the reason you’re taking the medication. For example, if the medication is to ease Parkinson’s motor symptoms and those seem worse, then perhaps the generic is not ideal for you.

Remember, though, that generics are required to be safe and just as effective as brand name drugs. So, it’s unlikely that they would be less beneficial or cause significant problems. Still, some people don’t respond as well to generics or have new side effects such that they need to take the brand name. As with any medication in your regimen, work with your physician to determine what best suits you and your situation.

Learn more about Parkinson’s medications.

Listen to a webinar on how your doctor chooses your PD medications.

Participate in clinical trials testing new medications for Parkinson’s.

Source:: Fox Feed Blog

Six Misconceptions about Parkinson’s Support Groups

By Nancy Ryerson

After a Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis, you may feel isolated from friends and family who aren’t going through the same experience. Meeting with others living with the disease through a support group can help you feel more connected, and introduce you to local resources you may not be familiar with, too.

Support groups are not one size fits all, however, and it may take a few tries before you find the right match. If you’re hesitant to try one out, read these experiences our community shared. Many people who are apprehensive about joining support groups later find them to be an integral part of life with the disease.

Misconception: Support groups are all business.

Reality: Meetings often feature a speaker and an informative discussion, but many have fun at meetings, too. Several commenters shared that as organizers, they also joke around and enjoy the group’s company. Good food and drink help, of course.

Read more at the Fox Feed Blog

Birmingham Symposium

2015 Birmingham Symposium: Living Your Best Life with Parkinson’s Disease

The Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA) is thrilled to host its annual Birmingham Symposium on Saturday, June 13 at the Embassy Suites in Hoover from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Register online now!

Check-in and Breakfast are from 8:00 – 8:30 AM. The program is from 8:45 AM – 1:00 PM and includes a boxed lunch. Admission is free with registration, but donations are appreciated and may be submitted online or at the event. Space is limited, so we do encourage everyone interested in attending to register online.

The theme for this years forum is Living Your Best Life with Parkinson’s and we encourage anyone affected by PD to attend. Whether you’re a PD patient, caregiver, medical professionalthought leader, or simply want know more – the Birmingham Symposium offers something for everyone.

Contact the PAA Executive Director, Mary T Miller, for more information.


Blame it on the Parkinson’s

Music can be therapeutic for Parkinson’s patients – listening, playing or composing. Watch and share the video below composed by PD patient Mitch Faile which reminds us all to Blame it on the Parkinson’s

5 Ways to Improve Their Day

The daily process of coping with Parkinson’s Disease can be a challenge for patients, caregivers, and their families. Here are 5 ways to brighten the day of someone dealing with PD courtesy of the FoxFeed blog…

Dating and Parkinson’s Disease


New and Valen-timely entry on the FoxFeed from hilarious and authentic guest blogger and PD patient, Allison Smith.

A Single Lady’s Advice on Dating and Parkinson’s Disease

The Day After A Parkinson Diagnosis

The day after a Parkinson Disease diagnosis can be a dynamic and stressful time for patients, caregivers, and their families. This post from the FoxFeed Blog offers a “roadmap” to help navigate the days immediately after a diagnosis.