Fatigue rating scales critique and recommendations by the Movement Disorders Society task force on rating scales for Parkinson's disease


  • Potential conflict of interest: None.


Fatigue has been shown to be a consistent and common problem in Parkinson's disease (PD) in multiple countries and cultures. It is one of the most disabling of all symptoms, including motor dysfunction, and appears early, often predating the onset of motor symptoms. Several studies of the epidemiology of fatigue have been published, often using different scales, but few on treatment. The Movement Disorder Society (MDS) commissioned a task force to assess available clinical rating scales, critique their psychometric properties, summarize their clinical properties, and evaluate the evidence in support of their use in clinical studies in PD. Six clinical researchers reviewed all studies published in peer reviewed journals of fatigue in PD, evaluated the scales' previous use, performance parameters, and quality of validation data, if available. Scales were rated according to criteria provided by the MDS. A scale was “recommended” if it has been used in clinical studies beyond the group that developed it, has been used in PD and psychometric studies have established that it is a valid, reliable and sensitive to change in people with PD. Requiring a scale to have demonstrated sensitivity to change in PD specifically rather than in other areas in order to attain a rating of “recommended” differs from the use of this term in previous MDS task force scale reviews. “Suggested” scales failed to meet all the criteria of a “recommended” scale, usually the criterion of sensitivity to change in a study of PD. Scales were “listed” if they had been used in PD studies but had little or no psychometric data to assess. Some scales could be used both to screen for fatigue as well as to assess fatigue severity, but some were only used to assess severity. The Fatigue Severity Scale was “recommended” for both screening and severity rating. The Fatigue Assessment Inventory, an expanded version of the Fatigue severity Scale, is “suggested” for both screening and severity. The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue was “recommended” for screening and “suggested” for severity. The Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory was “suggested” for screening and “recommended” for severity. The Parkinson Fatigue Scale was “recommended” for screening and “suggested” for severity rating. The Fatigue Severity Inventory was “listed” for both screening and severity. The Fatigue Impact Scale for Daily Use, an adaptation of the Fatigue Impact Scale was “listed” for screening and “suggested” for severity. Visual Analogue and Global Impression Scales are both “listed” for screening and severity. The committee concluded that current scales are adequate for fatigue studies in PD but that studies on sensitivity and specificity of the scales are still needed. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society