Several factors determine the choice of medications in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We aimed to analyze the pattern of prescription of drugs in patients with PD before attending a tertiary-care center.
The study included chart review of 800 PD patients attending the Department of Neurology of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India.
The mean age at onset was 51.1±11.8 years. The mean duration of illness was 41.7±43.6 months. At first visit, 79.4% (group 1, n=635) of patients were on medications, 10% (group 2, n=80) were on medications but later discontinued, and 10.6% (group 3, n=85) were drug-naïve. Overall, levodopa was prescribed in 94.8%, trihexyphenidyl in 40.4%, dopamine agonists in 23.2%, and amantadine in 17.2% either as monotherapy or in combination. In group 1, 37.8% were on monotherapy, with levodopa being the most commonly used agent (33.1%), followed by trihexyphenidyl (2.2%), dopamine agonists (1.6%), and amantadine (0.6%). Among those on polytherapy, levodopa plus trihexyphenidyl was the preferred combination (23.9%). In group 2, levodopa monotherapy was also most common (72.5%), followed by trihexyphenidyl monotherapy (7.5%).
Levodopa and trihexyphenidyl were the most commonly prescribed drugs in our patients. A higher use of trihexyphenidyl could be due to its easy availability, low cost, and better tolerability in our patients, who were relatively young at the time of onset of their disease. The choice of antiparkinsonian medications at the primary and secondary care levels in India may be inappropriate, and newer guidelines tailored to the Indian context are warranted.