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Employment, medical absenteeism, and disability perception in Parkinson's disease: A pilot double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of entacapone adjunctive therapy



The objective of this study was to test the impact of entacapone (ENT) addition to levodopa with a decarboxylase inhibitor (LD) in full-time–employed patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), focusing on retirement rates, medical absenteeism, self-perception of disability, as well as motor assessments of parkinsonism, motor fluctuations, and dyskinesias. Thirty full-time–employed PD patients (disease onset before age 60 years) and on optimized monotherapy with LD exhibiting minor motor fluctuations or dyskinesias were entered into a 2-year randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of ENT adjunctive therapy. The outcome measures were the number of full-time–employed patients at study end, cumulative days of medical absenteeism, patient-completed disability assessments, diary records, and the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale–based measures of motor fluctuations and dyskinesias. LD + ENT treatment was associated with a lower retirement rate (2 [17%] of 12 vs. 6 [50%] of 12; P = 0.12), lower absenteeism rate (21.5 vs. 43.5 days; P < 0.0001), improved self-perception of disability progression over 2 years (change score 1.0 vs. 4.5; P < 0.0001), and lower scores for both motor fluctuations and dyskinesia assessments compared to LD monotherapy. In this pilot study, LD with ENT adjunctive therapy positively influenced employment rate over 2 years; this effect was associated with reduced motor complications and patient perceptions of stabilized disability. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society