Journal of Neurology

, Volume 248, Issue 12, pp 1062–1067

The association of dopamine agonists with daytime sleepiness, sleep problems and quality of life in patients with Parkinson's disease

– A prospective study –


  • Svenja Happe
    • Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48129 Muenster, Germany, Tel.: +49-2 51/8 34 81 93, Fax: +49-2 51/8 34 81 81, E-Mail:
  • Klaus Berger
    • Department of Neurology, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48129 Muenster, Germany, Tel.: +49-2 51/8 34 81 93, Fax: +49-2 51/8 34 81 81, E-Mail:
  • on behalf of the FAQT Study Investigators

DOI: 10.1007/s004150170026

Cite this article as:
Happe, S., Berger, K. & on behalf of the FAQT Study Investigators J Neurol (2001) 248: 1062. doi:10.1007/s004150170026


Objective Reports that dopamine agonists (DA) precipitate sudden daytime sleep episodes in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients have received widespread attention. It remains unclear if non-ergoline and ergoline DAs have differential sedating effects or if sedation rather represents a class effect of DAs. The aim of this study was the evaluation of sleep disturbances and the quality of life (QoL) in PD patients with different dopaminergic treatment strategies. Patients and methods. This analysis is part of the FAQT-study, a prospective German cohort study evaluating determinants of QoL in PD patients. A subgroup of 111 PD patients was evaluated twice, at baseline and after one year of follow-up, using standardised and validated questionnaires (Unified Parkinson's disease rating scale (UPDRS), Hoehn and Yahr classification, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD), Short Form–36 (SF–36), Parkinson Disease Questionnaire (PDQ–39)). The impact of treatment strategies on sleep problems, daytime sleepiness, bad dreams and hallucinations, depression and QoL in PD patients was analysed separately for ergoline DAs, non-ergoline DAs and the patient group taking no DA. Results At baseline, sleep problems were reported by about one third of the patients with and without DA medication. Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) was higher in the two DA groups (ergoline 11.9 %, non-ergoline 9.1 %) than among patients not taking DAs (4.5 %). At follow-up, sleep problems in general had decreased among patients taking DAs continuously and among those newly taking DAs, while the sleep problems increased in patients discontinuing DAs. However, EDS had increased to 25 % in patients newly taking DAs, and decreased to 15.9 % in those taking them continuously. QoL scores at follow-up were slightly increased in the patient groups newly taking and discontinuing DAs (the latter except in physical functioning) while those on continuing DA-medication remained unchanged. Conclusion No differential effects of ergoline or non-ergoline DAs on sleep problems were found. Different dopaminergic treatment strategies did not influence QoL. Our results support the evidence that sedation may be rather a class effect of DAs.

Key words Dopamine agonistsDaytime sleepinessSleepParkinson's diseaseQuality of life

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2001