Pharmacologic treatment of anxiety disorders in parkinson disease

Gregory M. Pontone, James R. Williams, Karen E. Anderson, Gary Chase, Susanne R. Goldstein, Stephen Grill, Elaina S. Hirsch, Susan Lehmann, John T. Little, Russell L. Margolis, Justin Palanci, Peter V. Rabins, Howard D. Weiss, Laura Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: Neither best practices nor an evidence base for the pharmacologic treatment of anxiety in Parkinson disease (PD) has been established. This study investigated pharmacologic treatment of anxiety disorders in idiopathic PD and the associated clinical features. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Three community-based movement disorder neurology practices. Participants: 250 subjects with PD. Measurements: Anxiety disorder diagnoses were established by consensus using a panel of six psychiatrists with expertise in geriatric psychiatry and movement disorders. Current medications were provided by the treating neurologists at the time of interview. Results: Among subjects with anxiety disorders only, 53% were untreated with medications. When anxious subjects with comorbid depressive disorders were included, 70.8% were on medications effective for treatment of anxiety. Subjects with anxiety and comorbid depressive disorders were more likely to be treated for their psychiatric disturbances than subjects with anxiety disorders alone (odds ratio: 8.33), as were subjects with comorbid motor fluctuations (odds ratio: 3.65). There were no differences in the types of anti-anxiety medications used in regard to the presence of depression or motor fluctuations. Conclusions: These findings suggest that over half of nondepressed PD patients with clinically significant anxiety are untreated with medication. A better understanding of the role of clinical features associated with anxiety in PD, such as depression and motor fluctuations, may improve the recognition and treatment of anxiety disorders in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-528
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Non-motor symptoms
  • Parkinson disease
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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