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Pergolide is an ergot derived dopamine agonist that is widely used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have found an association between pergolide and valvular heart abnormalities although there is still much to be learned about the clinical significance of the valvular changes, who is at risk, and whether there is duration of exposure effect.
To assess the long term risk of hospital admissions for valvular heart disease (VHD) or congestive heart failure (CHF, a clinically overt outcome of VHD) in new users of pergolide compared to new users of levodopa. The secondary objective was to assess whether there are any characteristics that can predict who is at higher risk of developing this outcome.
Retrospective, population-based cohort study.
Ontario residents aged 66 and older, newly started on treatment with either pergolide or levodopa.
Admission to hospital with the most responsible diagnosis of congestive heart failure or valvular heart disease.
The risk for admission for valvular heart disease or congestive heart failure were higher in those with 1-4 years exposure to pergolide compared with no exposure to pergolide (VHD: hazard ratio 2.4, p = 0.04; CHF: hazard ratio 1.6, p =0.02). No such pattern was found with exposure to levodopa.
Our study demonstrates that treatment with pergolide is associated with a higher risk of hospital admission for valvular heart disease or congestive heart failure and that this risk is greater in those with 1-4 years exposure than in those with less exposure. We did not find an increased risk beyond four years.
To review the risk of pergolide associated cardiac valvulopathy in patients with Parkinson's disease.
MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library. Reference lists were reviewed and librarians were consulted to identify additional trials.
All studies and case reports in the English literature on pergolide and cardiac valvulopathy.
Demographics of patients, study duration, dose and duration of pergolide use, echocardiogram results, length of follow-up, and clinical outcome.
Twenty-two published articles were identified. There were no randomized controlled trials. Follow-up time varied between a few months and four years. Three case reports and four studies (three case control and one observational) assessed 246 patients. Evidence for valvulopathy was found in all studies. Variable methods were used to assess the degree of valvular regurgitation making comparisons between studies difficult. Little clinical correlation is available for echocardiogram results. Variable improvement was shown in the few patients in whom the drug was stopped. There is insufficient data to determine whether dose and duration or other comorbities have an effect on the risk of developing cardiac valvulopathy.
Pergolide therapy is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiac valvulopathy but the true incidence and importance of this remains unknown. Further prospective studies are needed with standardized assessments of echocardiograms.
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