Regression of cardiac valvulopathy related to ergot-derived dopamine agonists

Renzo Zanettini, Angelo Antonini, Gemma Gatto, Rosa Gentile, Silvana Tesei, Gianni Pezzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: In a previous echocardiographic prevalence study we reported a significant increase in the frequency of heart valve regurgitation in patients with Parkinson's disease taking the ergot-derived dopamine agonists pergolide and cabergoline versus controls. We followed-up our original cohort of patients to ascertain whether valvulopathy regressed after discontinuation of treatment and/or its incidence increased over time. Methods: Prospective follow-up of 101 patients treated with ergot-derived dopamine agonists included in the prevalence study: 53 given pergolide and 48 cabergoline (64% male; 66.4 ± 8.7 years of age, 11.5 ± 5.9 years of disease, 21.8 ± 5.9 months of follow-up); 55 stopped treatment while 46 continued. The main outcomes measures, were: echocardiographic quantification of regurgitant valve disease, abnormal leaflet, or cusp thickening and measurement of mitral valve tenting area. Results: Valve abnormalities regressed in about one third of patients with significant multivalvular and in about half of the patients with monovalvular regurgitation who withdrew; no progression was observed in remaining patients. Patients continuing ergot-derived dopamine agonists showed progression of cardiac valvulopathy: seven new cases with three to four regurgitation grade of any valve occurred during follow-up; this regarded also patients who had been on pergolide for many years. Conclusion: Owing to the persistence of risk of heart valve damage over time and the lack of its mid-term reversibility in many patients, we believe that pergolide and cabergoline should be prescribed only when therapeutic alternatives with a better risk/benefit ratio are unavailable and the patient has access to echocardiography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-410
Number of pages7
JournalCardiovascular Therapeutics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Cardiac valvulopathy regression
  • Drug discontinuation
  • Ergot-derived dopamine agonists
  • Parkinson disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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