Drug prescribing patterns in Parkinson's disease: A pharmacoepidemiological survey in a cohort of ambulatory patients

Olivia Leoni, Emilia Martignoni, Marco Cosentino, Donatella Michielotto, Daniela Calandrella, Roberta Zangaglia, Giulio Riboldazzi, Cristina Oria, Sergio Lecchini, Giuseppe Nappi, Gianmario Frigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. Drug treatment of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) is a difficult task, and comorbidity and comedication add to its complexity. Since in IPD there is little information about drug use, this study investigated drug prescribing and indications in IPD patients. Methods. From June 1997 to April 1998, a cross-sectional survey of IPD outpatients was performed and demographic and clinical data and information about drug treatments was collected and analysed. Results. In the 130 IPD patients included in the study, anti-Parkinson drug (APD) prescriptions increased with disease duration and severity. Levodopa was most frequently used, followed by dopamine agonists and anticholinergic agents. Levodopa with other APDs was given to older patients with later IPD onset. Prescriptions of drugs for other indications (non-APDs) were given to 80.8% of the patients and their number increased with patient age. Non-APD prescriptions concerned mainly the circulatory system, mental disorders, the musculo-skeletal system and the digestive system. Prescriptions for indications corresponding to secondary symptoms that often complicate IPD increased with patient age and also with IPD duration. Conclusion. In IPD patients, disease duration and severity and patient age seem to be major determinants of drug use. Indications for drug prescription suggest that main comorbidity includes neuropsychiatric, circulatory, musculo-skeletal and digestive disorders. Analysis of prescribing patterns in IPD can provide a readily accessible indirect indicator of patient health status for both health services and epidemiologic research purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Comorbidity
  • Drug indications
  • Drug prescribing
  • Idiopathic Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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