Risk of cardiac valve regurgitation with dopamine agonist use in Parkinson's disease and hyperprolactinaemia: a multi-country, nested case-control study

Drug Saf. 2012 Feb 1;35(2):159-71. doi: 10.2165/11594940-000000000-00000.


Background: There is growing evidence that ergot dopamine agonists may induce cardiac valve regurgitation (CVR) in persons with Parkinson's disease. It is unclear whether the CVR risk is increased with ergot-dopamine agonist use in persons with hyperprolactinaemia, in whom the dose is much lower.

Objective: The aim of the study was to explore the association between different dopamine agonists and CVR in patients with Parkinson's disease or hyperprolactinaemia.

Design: Nested case-control studies conducted separately in cohorts of Parkinson's disease and hyperprolactinaemia patients. Cases were patients who developed newly diagnosed CVR. Controls were CVR-free patients from the same cohorts and were matched to cases by age, sex, database and calendar year.

Setting and patients: Study patients were identified from over 4.5 million persons in The Health Improvement Network (THIN; UK), Health Search (Italy), and Integrated Primary Care Information (IPCI; the Netherlands) general practice databases in the years 1996-2007. The Parkinson's disease cohort included new users of dopamine agonists or levodopa, while the hyperprolactinaemia cohort included new users or non-users of dopamine agonists.

Main outcome measure: Risk of newly diagnosed CVR with dopamine agonist use compared with levodopa use in the Parkinson's disease cohort, and dopamine agonist-naïve patients in the hyperprolactinaemia cohort.

Results: In the Parkinson's disease cohort (7893 dopamine agonist users, 11 766 levodopa users), 85 incident CVR cases were identified. Increased CVR risk was observed for ergot dopamine agonists (adjusted OR [OR(adj)] 3.82; 95% CI 2.14, 6.81), but not for non-ergot dopamine agonists (OR(adj) 1.20; 95% CI 0.63, 2.29). In the hyperprolactinaemia cohort (6740 dopamine agonist users and 14 299 dopamine agonist-naïve patients), 37 CVR cases were identified during a mean follow-up of 4.5 years and 3.5 years for new users and non-users of dopamine agonists, respectively. However, no association with ever use of ergot dopamine agonists was observed (OR(adj) 0.47; 95% CI 0.20, 1.19).

Conclusion: Ergot-derived dopamine agonists are associated with an increased risk of CVR in Parkinson's disease but not in hyperprolactinaemia patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiparkinson Agents / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dopamine Agonists / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Valve Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / complications
  • Hyperprolactinemia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Dopamine Agonists