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AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 2, 2019

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Researchers Evaluate Controversial Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

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Novel drug has been linked to increased mortality, but UC San Diego scientists find no statistically significant evidence in study comparing pimavanserin (Nuplazid) to another drug and to combination therapy

In the wake of media and public reports about increased mortality linked to a new drug for treating Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP) — a symptom of the progressive nervous system disorder in which patients experience hallucinations and delusions — researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine conducted a retrospective study of qualifying patients in the UC San Diego Health system, concluding that the new drug, pimavanserin (marketed as Nuplazid), did not pose a statistically significant greater risk of death.

“This paper is important because pimavanserin has been in the news, and there is considerable debate and concern about its safety,” said Fatta B. Nahab, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and the study’s corresponding author. “We wanted to better understand and assess the risks of using pimavanserin within our own patient community, either alone or in combination with other commonly prescribed medications.”

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