Pramipexole Beneficial for Depression in Parkinson’sLast Updated: May 13, 2010. The dopamine agonist pramipexole improves depression in patients with Parkinson's disease, suggesting that it could become an important antidepressant treatment for these patients, according to a study published online May 10 in the The Lancet Neurology.
THURSDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- The dopamine agonist pramipexole improves depression in patients with Parkinson's disease, suggesting that it could become an important antidepressant treatment for these patients, according to a study published online May 10 in the The Lancet Neurology.
Paolo Barone, M.D., of the University of Naples in Italy, and colleagues conducted a multicenter 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of pramipexole versus placebo in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. The primary end point was change in Beck depression inventory (BDI) score; unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS) was also measured. The final analysis included 287 patients.
The researchers found that there was a significant decrease in BDI scores in the pramipexole group compared to the placebo group (5.9 versus 4.0 points). The UPDRS motor score decreased by an adjusted mean of 4.4 points in the pramipexole group and 2.2 points in the placebo group. Further analysis determined that the direct antidepressant effect of pramipexole was responsible for 80 percent of the total treatment effect, with the remaining 20 percent accounted for by motor symptom improvement.
"These results suggest that specific stimulation of dopaminergic pathways as provided by pramipexole should be considered in the management of patients with Parkinson's disease and clinically significant depressive symptoms. This strategy might offer a combined, although independent, benefit on motor disability, depressive symptoms, and quality of life," the authors write.
This study was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim; several authors disclosed financial relationships with Boehringer Ingelheim and other pharmaceutical companies.
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