Depression is common in Parkinson's disease and is associated with cognitive impairment. Dopaminergic medications are effective in treating the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease; however, little is known regarding the effects of dopaminergic pharmacotherapy on cognitive function in depressed Parkinson patients. This study examines the neuropsychological effects of dopaminergic pharmacotherapy in Parkinsonian depression. We compared cognitive function in depressed and non-depressed Parkinson patients at two time-points: following overnight withdrawal and after the usual morning regimen of dopaminergic medications. A total of 28 non-demented, right-handed patients with mild to moderate idiopathic Parkinson's disease participated. Ten of these patients were depressed according to DSM IV criteria. Results revealed a statistically significant interaction between depression and medication status on three measures of verbal memory and a facial affect naming task. In all cases, depressed Parkinson's patients performed significantly more poorly while on dopaminergic medication than while off. The opposite pattern emerged for the non-depressed Parkinson's group. The administration of dopaminergic medication to depressed Parkinson patients may carry unintended risks.

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Published in Psychiatry Research, v. 210, issue 1, p. 146–149.

© 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant R01MH78228 and by the Department of Veterans Affairs.