Risk factors for hallucinations in Parkinson's disease: Results from a large prospective cohort study


  • Funding agencies: The work reported in this article was supported by grants from the Van Alkemade-Keuls Foundation and the Prinses Beatrix Fonds (PBF; project no. WAR05–0120).

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for the development of hallucinations in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). A broad range of motor and nonmotor features was assessed at baseline and during the following 5 years in 386 PD patients. Cross-sectional analyses of baseline data and longitudinal analyses of follow-up data were performed to identify risk factors for hallucinations in PD. Twenty-one percent of the patients had hallucinations at baseline, whereas 46% of the patients without hallucinations at baseline developed this feature during follow-up. Univariate survival analysis showed that older age, female sex, less education, higher age at onset, and more severe motor and cognitive impairment, depression, daytimes sleepiness, autonomic dysfunction, and motor fluctuations and dyskinesias, as well as higher daily levodopa dose, were associated with the risk of developing hallucinations. This largely corresponds with the features that were associated with the presence of hallucinations at baseline. In a stepwise regression model, older age at onset, female sex, excessive daytime sleepiness, autonomic dysfunction, and dyskinesias emerged as independent risk factors for developing hallucinations. Female sex, autonomic dysfunction, motor fluctuations, and dyskinesias have not been reported as risk factors in previous studies. These findings lend support to the notion that hallucinations in PD are caused by a combination of risk factors that are associated with (the interaction between) older age and more advanced disease. The identification of female sex as a risk factor for developing of hallucinations in PD is a new finding and should be verified in future studies. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society