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Neuropsychiatric complications of medical and surgical therapies for Parkinson's disease

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Burn


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This review deals with the range of neuropsychiatric problems that may arise from the use of medical and surgical therapies in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. As new approaches emerge, these problems are diversifying. Well-recognized drug-related complications include hallucinations and psychosis and the so-called dopamine-dysregulation syndrome. The etiology of these problems has not been fully established and is not clearly dose related, while the management can be difficult and needs to be tailored to the individual patient. Cholinergic and dopaminergic drugs may both influence cognitive function. The development of pharmacogenetics could improve the therapeutic ratio of medical approaches to PD in the future. The literature relating to the neuropsychiatric issues complicating the surgical treatment of Parkinson's disease is more recent and frequently suffers from methodological problems, lack of a systematic approach, and adequate patient follow-up. The emergence of neuropsychiatric problems in association with surgery has shed new light upon the pathophysiological mechanisms underpinning these symptoms. Depression, hypomania, euphoria, mirth, and hypersexuality have all been described following deep brain stimulation procedures, although most studies have concentrated upon the depressive features. Anxiety has been described only rarely to date. Fortunately, permanent cognitive complications appear to be rare. The optimal management approach for surgically related neuropsychiatric problems is unknown at present. Prospective multicenter studies would contribute significantly to resolving this therapeutic uncertainty.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burn DJ, Troster AI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology

Year: 2004

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Pages: 172-180

ISSN (print): 0891-9887

ISSN (electronic): 1552-5708

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/0891988704267466


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