Use of a VA pharmacy database to screen for areas at high risk for disease: Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides

J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2004 Mar;17(1):36-8. doi: 10.1177/0891988703258672.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess whether pharmacy database information from US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers could be used to screen for areas of higher Parkinson's disease prevalence in patients exposed to pesticides. The authors used pharmacy data sets and compared the use of antiparkinsonian medications at 2 VA medical centers in California: one in Palo Alto, near the ocean, and one in Fresno, downwind from extensively farmed parts of the Central Valley. They found that patients at Fresno had higher odds ratios (1.5-1.8) for the use of Parkinson's disease medications than patients at Palo Alto. These data are consistent with the observations of prior epidemiologic studies and suggest that VA pharmacy databases can prioritize locations for further epidemiologic research. However, a thorough exploration of alternative explanations is needed to reach definitive conclusions regarding the findings suggested by this method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Information Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / chemically induced*
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / epidemiology
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*

Substances

  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Pesticides