Cochrane Summaries

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Dopamine agonist therapy in early Parkinson's disease

Stowe R, Ives N, Clarke CE, van Hilten JJ, Ferreira J, Hawker RJ, Shah L, Wheatley K, Gray R
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

This 'umbrella' meta-analysis assesses dopamine agonists as a drug class in early Parkinson's disease. Twenty-nine eligible trials, involving 5247 participants, were identified. It confirms reports from individual trials that motor complications are reduced with dopamine agonists compared to levodopa, but also demonstrates that other important side-effects are increased and symptom control is poorer with agonists. Unfortunately, the balance of risks and benefits remains unclear highlighting the need for further studies assessing patient-rated overall quality of life and economic measures as their primary outcomes.