Psychiatric symptoms (PS) can be non-motor features in Parkinson’s disease (PD) which are common even in the prodromal, untreated phase of the disease. Some PS, especially depression and anxiety recently became known predictive markers for PD. Our objective was to explore retrospectively the prevalence of PS before the diagnosis of PD.
In the framework of the Hungarian Brain Research Program we created a database from medical and medication reports submitted for reimbursement purposes to the National Health Insurance Fund in Hungary, a country with 10 million inhabitants and a single payer health insurance system. We used record linkage to evaluate the prevalence of PS before the diagnosis of PD and compared that with patients with ischemic cerebrovascular lesion (ICL) in the period between 2004-2016 using ICD-10 codes of G20 for PD, I63-64 for ICL and F00-F99 for PS. We included only those patients who got their PD, ICL and psychiatric diagnosis at least twice.
There were 79 795 patients with PD and 676 874 patients with ICL. Of the PD patients 16% whereas of those with ischemic cerebrovascular lesion 9.7% had a psychiatric diagnosis before the first appearance of PD or ICL (p<0.001) established in psychiatric care at least twice. The higher rate of PS in PD compared to ICL remained significant after controlling for age and gender in logistic regression analysis. The difference between PD and ICL was significant for Mood disorders (F30-F39), Organic, including symptomatic, mental disorders (F00-F09), Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (F40-F48) and Schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders (F20-F29) diagnosis categories (p<0.001, for all).
The higher rate of psychiatric morbidity in the premotor phase of PD may reflect neurotransmitter changes in the early phase of PD.