Phenylalanine is a prescription medication effective in the treatment of depression, Parkinson's disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. While phenylalanine is found naturally in lean meats and other protein sources, those who consume little of these types of products may be prescribed the medication in pill form. Despite the drug's effectiveness, a number of side effects exist. Taking the medication at the proper time and in the correct dosage is key to managing phenylalanine side effects, as are working with a physician or pharmacist, engaging in physical activity, and following a healthy diet.
To reduce phenylalanine side effects, it is important that patients take the medication as directed. As with many other prescription drugs, phenylalanine should be taken with food to prevent possible gastrointestinal distress. Taking the correct number of pills at the proper time is also important. Individuals who are susceptible to nausea are encouraged to take the medication right before bedtime, so the most severe feelings of nausea occur during sleep.
Working with a physician or pharmacist is also very important for those who are interested in reducing phenylalanine side effects. In this regard, a health diary may be especially useful. It can include information such as the type of symptoms experienced, when they occurred, and their severity. To provide a clear description of side effects, health diaries should be kept for a least a few weeks. Physicians or pharmacists can use this information to properly alter the dosages or the frequency of taking the drug.
Regular cardiovascular exercise has been found to be another effective way to regulate phenylalanine side effects. Cardiovascular exercise is that which stresses and strengthens the heart, and can include activities such as walking, hiking, or biking. Mild to moderate exercise is most effective in the management of phenylalanine side effects. Patients should consult with their physician to make sure they are healthy enough for physical activity before starting an exercise program.
Another way to reduce phenylalanine side effects is through the use of proper nutrition. Diets which are very low in calories have been found to exacerbate the side effects of phenylalanine. Patients are usually encouraged to consume between 1,500 and 2,000 calories per day. Diets should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Fish, shrimp, and other forms of seafood can be especially effective in the management of side effects. Avoiding alcohol and foods rich in fat can also aid in reducing phenylalanine side effects.