Dramatic Weight Loss in a Patient With Parkinson Disease

Heidi Moawad, MD


July 25, 2019

The prediction of weight loss among patients with Parkinson disease has been attempted. The NINDS Exploratory Trials in Parkinson Disease Long-term Study-1 was a large prospective clinical trial cohort of early treated Parkinson disease.[4] The study evaluated numerous factors and their associations with weight loss in Parkinson disease. The results indicated that the following factors were strongly associated with weight loss:

  • Older age

  • Female sex

  • Higher Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale score (more advanced disease)

  • Increased postural instability

  • Difficulty eating and drinking

  • Lower cognitive scores

  • Levodopa use

The same study showed that dyskinesia, depression, intestinal hypomotility and self-reported nausea, vomiting, or anorexia were associated with weight loss; however, these factors were not as significant as the other factors.

Another study found an association between early weight loss in Parkinson disease and poorer prognosis.[5] Patients with Parkinson disease who lost > 5% of their weight in the early stages of disease were more likely to experience sustained weight loss, develop dementia, lose their independence, and experience early death. This research suggests that averting excessive weight loss in Parkinson disease may have a beneficial long-term effect on patient outcome.


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