Pergolide mesylate can improve sexual dysfunction in patients with Parkinson's disease: the results of an open, prospective, 6-month follow-up

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Abstract

One of the most disabling problems in males suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease (PD) is complex sexual dysfunction. The effect of dopamine replacement or dopaminergic stimulation on sexual dysfunction has been recently examined and described in patients treated by L-DOPA or apomorphine. Pergolide mesylate is another dopamine agonist with a known high affinity to hD(2S) subtype and a lower affinity to hD(2L) subtype of D2 dopaminergic receptors. It has been repeatedly shown to be a highly effective treatment of the complicated and advanced stages of PD. The current study has been designed to assess its efficacy in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, which frequently accompanies the complicated stage of PD in males. Fourteen male patients suffering from PD, each of whom had been treated with L-DOPA, and in whom additional treatment with peroral dopaminergic agonist (DA) was needed, were followed for a 6-month period. Pergolide mesylate (Permax) was given to each patient, and titrated to a total daily dose of 3 mg. All of the patients were taking L-DOPA. The assessments performed before the start of pergolide treatment consisted of a neurological examination, including Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III and IV subscales scoring, Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scoring, the neuropsychological examination including Zung scale scoring to exclude depression, biochemical and haematological examinations including the examination of prolactine serum levels; and a sexological examination during which the patients filled-in the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire. These examinations were repeated during the control assessments at months 1, 3 and 6. To compare the examination results, ANOVA, Friedmann's ANOVA (non-parametric) and Tukey post hoc tests were used. There were statistically significant differences between the values of UPDRS III motor subscale, UPDRS IV (complications of therapy) subscale and all subscales of IIEF when months 0 and 1 were compared with the results obtained at months 3 and 6. The differences between months 0 and 1 and months 3 and 6 (in these items) were virtually insignificant. In conclusion, pergolide substantially improved sexual function in the younger male patients who were still interested in sexual activities. In such cases, the introduction of pergolide might be a better choice than treatment with sildenafile, which usually meets several contraindications in common PD male population.

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