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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2014, Article ID 379431, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/379431
Research Article

Trends in Antiparkinsonian Medication Use in New Zealand: 1995–2011

1Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, P.O. Box 4345, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
2New Zealand Brain Research Institute, 66 Stewart Street, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
3Department of Neurology, Canterbury District Health Board, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand

Received 18 December 2013; Revised 26 January 2014; Accepted 27 January 2014; Published 4 March 2014

Academic Editor: Ted Dawson

Copyright © 2014 T. L. Pitcher et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Prescribing trends for medications are influenced by development of new drugs, changes in knowledge about efficacy and side effects, and priorities set by funding agencies. Changes in the utilization of antiparkinsonian agents in the outpatient community in New Zealand were investigated by using the national prescription database for the period 1995–2011. The dispensed volumes of antiparkinsonian agents were converted into number of defined daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day for analysis. Increases in the dispensed volumes of levodopa (77%), amantadine (350%), and catechol-o-methyl transferase inhibitors (326%) occurred during the study period. Conversely, decreases in the dispensed volumes of anticholinergics (48%), selegiline (82%), and dopamine agonists (6.2%) were observed. New Zealand has seen a substantial increase of the amount of levodopa dispensed in the past 17 years. This increase appears to be related to an increase in the number of people taking the medication. We are unable to extrapolate this change to an increase in the prevalence of PD, given levodopa is used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions. The changes in other antiparkinsonian medications largely reflect changes in availability (increases in entacapone and ropinirole) and best practice treatment (declines in anticholinergics, selegiline, and tolcapone).