Correlates of Increased Suicidal Ideation in Parkinson Disease

Motor complications are associated with suicidal ideation in Parkinson disease.

Suicidal ideation appears to be increased in patients with Parkinson disease (PD) compared with healthy controls and patients with psoriasis, with several clinical PD features, including motor complications and non-motor symptoms, being associated with increased suicidal ideation in PD, according to study results published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.1

Many studies have demonstrated that patients with PD have a higher suicidal ideation rate than the general population,2-4 but there have been no studies to date investigating the interaction between how motor and non-motor symptoms contribute to PD suicidal ideation.

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Thus, in order to identify the clinical correlates of suicidal ideation in PD, researchers in Italy consecutively enrolled 100 patients with PD, 76 patients with psoriasis, and 80 healthy subjects and evaluated them for motor symptoms and complications and non-motor symptoms and performed a psychiatric evaluation.1

They found that suicidal ideation was present in 31% of patients with PD, 16% of patients with psoriasis, and 2% of healthy controls.

Patients showing suicidal ideation had more frequent motor complications, more severe non-motor symptoms, and a higher perceived disability than patients without suicidal ideation.

In addition, suicidal ideation correlated with the presence of motor complications, as well as non-motor symptom severity, perceived disability severity, and the presence of psychiatric disorders.

“In conclusion, our study has provided the first evidence of the relationship between motor and non-motor clinical features and suicidal ideation in PD” stated the investigators.1 They added, “We suggest that the clinical assessment of PD patients should include a psychiatric evaluation investigating suicidal ideation and perceived disability.”


1. Belvisia D, Berardellib I, Ferrazzano G, et al. The clinical correlates of suicidal ideation in Parkinson’s disease [published online March 3, 2019]. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2019.02.047.

2. Nazem S, Siderowf AD, Duda JE, et al. Suicidal and death ideation in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2008;23:1573-1579.

3. Kummer A, Cardoso F, Teixeira AL. Suicidal ideation in Parkinson’s disease. CNS Spectr. 2009;14:431-436.

4. Lee T, Lee HB, Ahn MH, et al. Increased suicide risk and clinical correlates of suicide among patients with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2016;32:102-107.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor