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Incidence of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Patients With Parkinson's Disease Increased Over Time and Impacted Clinical and Health Economic Outcomes

BRUSSELS, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study investigating the incidence and impact of gastrointestinal disorders (GID) among patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) found that patients who received both a PD diagnosis and a prior GID diagnosis appeared to have worse health outcomes compared to patients who received a diagnosis for PD with no prior GID diagnosis.  This retrospective observational analysis of US administrative health claims data was published this month in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.  

The study concluded that the majority of people diagnosed with PD acquired at least one GID, with incidence reaching 65% of patients four years after diagnosis.  In addition, PD patients with pre-existing GIDs before PD diagnosis were more likely to develop neurological, movement and urinary disorders, and may have required a higher level of healthcare utilization and increased healthcare costs.  

"This analysis reinforced the clinical impact of gastrointestinal disorders among people living with Parkinson's disease," commented study author, Dr. Florent Richy, Head of Global Epidemiology, UCB and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Liege, Belgium. "These patients tended to have worse health outcomes and required a higher level of care overall."

GIDs – such as difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis) and bowel dysfunction – are the more commonly observed non-motor symptoms of PD.  GIDs affect nearly all aspects of the gastrointestinal system, and tend to worsen as PD progresses.  

Study Findings

Increased incidence over time of GIDs in patients diagnosed with PD

  • 29% of patients diagnosed with PD had been diagnosed with GIDs in the previous year
  • After four years, the proportion of PD patients diagnosed with GIDs increased to:
    • 50% for patients younger than 65 years of age
    • 68% for patients between 65 and 75 years of age
    • 72% for patients older than 75 years of age

PD patients with prior GID diagnosis experienced higher incidences of the following, according to a subset analysis

  • Dysfunctions of the neuropsychiatric, autonomic and sensory systems
    • Depression – 1.23-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0347)
    • Anxiety – 1.61-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0062)
    • Psychosexual dysfunction – 8.00-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0499)
    • Ataxia – 1.24-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0286)
    • Pain – 1.29-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0003)
  • Motor, urogenital, and cardiovascular disturbances
    • Movement disorders – 1.39-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0053)
    • Urinary incontinence – 1.43-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0156)
    • Falls – 1.44-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0356)
  • Increased healthcare utilization and costs
  • ER visits – 1.42-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0011)
  • Drugs prescribed for pain, sleep disorders or depression – 1.06-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0432)
  • PD-related healthcare costs – 1.13-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0038)
  • Non-PD-related healthcare costs – 1.12-fold higher in PD patients with GIDs (p=0.0088)

About the Study

The objectives of this retrospective observational study were to examine the incidence of GID in PD patients in a US population, and to examine subsequent PD-related outcomes in patients with GIDs.  Findings came from a U.S. health claims database* of patients with PD who had at least one claim between January 2000 and December 2008 that was associated with a PD diagnosis.  In a subset of continuously treated patients, 485 patients with PD and GID diagnosis up to six months before their PD diagnosis were matched to 485 controls with PD but no prior GID diagnosis six months before their PD diagnosis.  These patients had at least two claims that were associated with a PD diagnosis, and were continuously treated with levodopa and/or a dopamine agonist during the two year follow-up period.  

* Data Source: IMS LifeLink: Health Plan Claims Database, PharMetrics, Inc., a unit of IMS Health, Watertown, WA.  ©2009, All Rights Reserved.

The IMS  LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database includes longitudinal, integrated, patient-level medical and pharmaceutical claims comprising five billion patient observations from across the United States comprised of over 70 million patients from over 100 health plans, including medical services and prescription drug information across the entire continuum of care.

For further information
Andrea Levin, Senior Manager, Communications & PR, CNS, UCB, Inc.
T +1  770.970.8352 / Mobile: +1 404.483.7329

Nancy Nackaerts, External Communications, UCB
T +32.473.864.414,

Eimear O Brien, Associate Director, Global CNS Communications
T +32 2 559 9271,

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8,500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2010. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.

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