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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • hallucinations;
  • sleep disorders;
  • ocular disease

Abstract

To study prevalence of hallucinations in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) during a 1-year period, and identify factors predictive of the onset of hallucinations in patients who were hallucination-free at baseline, 141 unselected outpatients with PD were evaluated prospectively for a set of demographic, clinical, and therapeutic variables and the presence of hallucinations during the previous 3 months. Patient groups were compared with nonparametric tests, and logistic regression was applied to significant data. Follow-up data were available for 127 patients. The hallucination prevalence rates (%) at the first and second evaluation were, respectively, 41.7 and 49.6 for hallucinations of all types (NS), 29.1 and 40.2 for minor hallucinations (i.e., presence or passage hallucinations, and illusions) (P = 0.02), 22.8 and 21.2 for formed visual hallucinations (NS), and 8.7 and 8.7 for auditory hallucinations (NS). Hallucinations rarely started or ceased during the study. The most labile forms were minor hallucinations, which developed in 20% of patients and ceased in 9%. During follow-up, 15% of patients started to hallucinate. Three factors, all present at the first evaluation, independently predicted the onset of hallucinations in patients previously free of hallucinations at baseline (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval): severe sleep disturbances (14.3; 2.5–80.9), ocular disorders (9.1; 1.6–52.0), and a high axial motor score (5.7; 1.2–27.4). Hallucinations have a chronic course in most parkinsonian patients. Factors predicting the onset of hallucinations point to a role of extranigral brainstem involvement and a nonspecific, facilitating role of ocular disorders. © 2004 Movement Disorder Society