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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2014, Article ID 426976, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Mortality in Levodopa-Treated Parkinson's Disease

1Movement Disorders Program, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University, 1429 Harper Street HF-1154, Augusta, GA 30912, USA
2Movement Disorders Division, Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 800394, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA
3Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 6605 West Broad Street, First Floor, Suite C Richmond, VA 23230, USA
4Clinical Development, Forest Laboratories, Inc., Jersey City, NJ, USA

Received 2 September 2013; Revised 13 November 2013; Accepted 14 November 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editor: Jan O. Aasly

Copyright © 2014 John C. Morgan 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.


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is associated with increased mortality despite many advances in treatment. Following the introduction of levodopa in the late 1960’s, many studies reported improved or normalized mortality rates in PD. Despite the remarkable symptomatic benefits provided by levodopa, multiple recent studies have demonstrated that PD patients continue to die at a rate in excess of their peers. We undertook this retrospective study of 211 deceased PD patients to determine the factors associated with mortality in levodopa-treated PD. Our findings confirm that PD is associated with increased mortality in both men and women. Unlike the majority of other mortality studies, we found that women have a greater reduction in lifespan compared to men. We also found that patients with early onset PD (onset at the age of 50 or before) have reduced survival relative to PD patients with later ages of onset. A final important finding is that survival is equal in PD patients treated with levodopa early (within 2 years or less of PD onset) versus later.