Chronic subcutaneous infusion therapy with apomorphine in advanced Parkinson's disease compared to conventional therapy: a real life study of non motor effect

J Parkinsons Dis. 2011;1(2):197-203. doi: 10.3233/JPD-2011-11037.


Background: Apomorphine infusion therapy remains under-used and there are no comparative studies of motor and non-motor effects of apomorphine infusion.

Methods: In this paper we report preliminary results from an ongoing clinical observational "real life" surveillance-based study focused on effects of this therapy on non-motor symptoms and health-related quality of life in a group of patients on apomorphine.

Results: Apomorphine infusion led to highly significant improvements in UPDRS 3 (p = 0.0003), UPDRS 4 (p = 0.0003), PDQ-8 (Parkinson's disease questionnaire, p = 0.001) and NMSS total (non motor symptoms scale, p = 0.0003). Furthermore, apomorphine was tolerated in patients with visual hallucinations, illusions and paranoid ideations while significant improvement in specific non-motor symptoms such as hyperhidrosis, nocturia, urgency of micturition, and fatigue was recorded. Levodopa equivalent dose decreased significantly (1077.81 ± 446.26 to 458.75 ± 282.29, p < 0.0001) and a large effect size of intervention was noted. In an untreated group no such improvement was noted. The number needed to treat (NNT) for improvement >1 SEM in the Apo group was calculated and was lower than 2 for >1 SEM improvement of UPDRS 3, NMSS, and PDQ-8 total scores.

Conclusions: This pilot observational study suggests that non-motor effects are evident with apomorphine therapy and patients suitable for apomorphine deteriorate in the absence of therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Apomorphine / administration & dosage*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dopamine Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Subcutaneous*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observation
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Apomorphine