Epidemiology of psychosis in Parkinson's disease

J Neurol Sci. 2010 Feb 15;289(1-2):12-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2009.08.014. Epub 2009 Sep 8.


Psychotic symptoms are frequent and disabling in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Methodological issues in the epidemiology of PD associated psychosis (PDP) include differences in the symptoms assessed, the methods of assessment, and the selection of patients. Most studies are prospective clinic-based cross-sectional studies providing point prevalence rates in samples on dopaminergic treatment. Visual hallucinations are present in about one quarter to one third of the patients, auditory in up to 20%. Tactile/somatic, and olfactory hallucinations are usually not systematically sought. Minor phenomena such as sense of presence and visual illusions affect 17 to 72% of the patients, and delusions about 5%. Lifetime prevalence of visual hallucinations reaches approximately 50%. Prospective longitudinal cohort studies suggest that hallucinations persist and worsen in individual patients, and that their prevalence increases with time. A facilitating role of treatment on PDP is demonstrated at least for dopaminergic agonists, but there is no simple dose-effect relationship between dopaminergic treatment and the presence or severity of hallucinations. The main endogenous non-modifiable risk factor is cognitive impairment. Other associated factors include older age/longer duration of PD, disease severity, altered dream phenomena, daytime somnolence, and possibly depression and dysautonomia. PDP reduces quality of life in patients and increases caregiver distress, and is an independent risk factor for nursing home placement and development of dementia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholecystokinin / genetics
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / genetics
  • Risk Factors


  • Cholecystokinin