Minimal clinically important change on the unified Parkinson's disease rating scale

Mov Disord. 2006 Aug;21(8):1200-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.20914.


The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) is the main outcome measure in clinical trials of Parkinson's disease (PD). The minimal change that represents a clinically meaningful improvement is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the minimal change on the UPDRS that represents a clinically meaningful improvement in early PD after 6 months of treatment. Data from two independent randomized treatment trials over 6 months involving 603 patients with de novo PD were analyzed to determine the minimal clinically important change (MCIC), referred to the status before treatment, for the UPDRS motor, activities of daily living (ADL), and total scores. An anchor-based method using ratings on a seven-point global clinical improvement was used. A change of five points on the UPDRS motor part was found to be the most appropriate cutoff score for all Hoehn and Yahr stages I to III, and a change of eight points for the UDPRS total score. For the UDPRS ADL score, an MCIC of two points for Hoehn and Yahr stages I/I.5 and II and of three points for Hoehn and Yahr stage II.5/III was the most appropriate cutoff score. These data give the first estimate for cutoffs defining clinically important changes in UPDRS ADL and motor scores. Further studies using larger databases from more diverse study populations are encouraged to better define and solidify the MCIC for the UPDRS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / classification*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Dopamine Agents
  • Indoles
  • ropinirole