Sick and Tired

Fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness should be assessed separately in Parkinson's disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) About 72 percent of Parkinson's disease patients in a new study experience fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

These conditions, which have overlapping physiological traits, are distinct and separate from each other and should be looked at as such in patients with the disease, according to new research from the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.

Researchers looked at 88 outpatients with Parkinson's in order to determine the overlap between the two symptoms (fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)) and associate them with other motor and non-motor symptoms and dopaminergic medication. The average age of study participants was 67.5 years, 69 percent of whom were male. Disease progression in patients ranged from two to 28 years with an average of just less than 10 years.

Findings included: Fatigued patients with Parkinson's disease had more severe motor symptoms than patients without fatigue; insomnia was more prevalent in patients with EDS than without; fatigued patients were almost twice as likely to suffer from EDS than non-fatigued patients; and increased sleep duration (hypersomnia) was associated with fatigue but not EDS.

"Our findings suggest that although fatigue and EDS often co-exist in patients with Parkinson's they are differently associated with severity of motor symptoms, disease duration, depression and dopaminergic treatment," concludes Dr Baumann. "For this reason, we feel that fatigue and EDS should be separately assessed in patients with Parkinson's in order to improve our understanding of their distinct but overlapping physiology."

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Review Date: 
December 1, 2010
Last Updated:
December 3, 2010