Publish date: 11 April 2024

Parkinson’s medication tool created by Northumbria consultant is now ready for use

Dr James Fisher, consultant at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

A valuable tool which helps patients with Parkinson’s disease has relaunched.

The PDMedCalc Parkinson’s medication dose calculator, created by Northumbria Healthcare consultant Dr James Fisher, is now ready for use in clinical practice.

The calculator has been made to help clinicians who look after patients with Parkinson’s in hospital.

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) often find it hard to swallow, and therefore may not be able to swallow their usual treatments. PDMedCalc helps doctors to respond to situations like this by providing an alternative medication and calculating a dosage for it, based on their usual medicines.

This alternative medicine can then be delivered by nasogastric tube (tube down the nose) or by a patch applied to skin.

The development of this tool was led by Dr James Fisher, consultant at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, along with the trust’s Parkinson’s disease team in 2014 but has undergone a significant redesign recently.

Dr Fisher said: “We hope that the revised calculator will continue to make a positive difference for the Parkinson’s community, as it is well recognised that medicine management during hospital stays can be problematic.”

Since 2014, the tool has been used by more than 7,000 clinicians each year. It was then redeveloped in 2024 with support from TPXimpact, after being granted funding from a Parkinson’s UK Excellence Network project grant.

Through extensive development and testing, the online calculator has undergone an update and now meets current treatment standards. It has also been registered as a Class 1 medical device, by the MHRA (UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

Charlotte Scott, senior clinical pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The easy-to-use tool should be used as a guide, alongside clinical judgement, to safely switch medicines.

“It will also help with getting the medicine to patients on time, which will significantly improve patient experience. This is important as we know that even a delay of 30 minutes in patients getting their PD medicines can have a big impact on their function.  

“Dr Fisher, the PD team at Northumbria and I have thoroughly tested the tool to ensure it produces safe and consistent results. We’re pleased that clinicians will now be able to use this tool confidently and effectively in practice.”

Media contact:

Jesse Ngonyama, marketing assistant apprentice