If you’re not familiar with Parkinson’s disease–related hallucinations and delusions, you are not alone
About Parkinson’s disease (PD)
PD is a disorder of the central nervous system
PD is progressive and the signs and symptoms can vary
The cause of PD is unknown but certain factors, such as genetics and environment, are believed to play a role
PD reduces the brain’s production of dopamine—a chemical that sends signals that control movement
Parkinson’s disease symptoms
There are 2 general types of PD symptoms—motor symptoms, which most people are well aware of, and the nonmotor symptoms, which may be unexpected. The nonmotor symptoms of PD, include hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or experiencing things that others don't) and delusions (believing things that are not true). These nonmotor symptoms, when experienced as part of Parkinson's, are known as Parkinson's disease psychosis (PDP).
PD motor symptoms
Slowness of movement
Trouble with balance
PD nonmotor symptoms
Loss of mental sharpness/acuity
Constipation, impaired bladder control
How people with Parkinson's disease describe their hallucinations or delusions
Seeing things that others don't
Such as people, either living or deceased, animals, or objects
Hearing things that others don't
Such as believing people are talking about you or trying to access your money
Such as fears of your loved ones stealing from you, loved ones putting you in harm's way or being unfaithful
Around 50% of people with Parkinson's disease may experience hallucinations and/or delusions over the course of their disease
What causes Parkinson’s disease–related hallucinations and delusions?
Currently, there is no clear understanding of the exact cause of hallucinations and delusions associated with PD. However, certain brain chemicals and receptors (such as dopamine and serotonin) are believed to play a role. In general, the condition is thought to be caused by the following:
Side effect of
Hallucinations and delusions may be a side effect of common PD medications (called dopaminergic therapies). These medications increase dopamine levels in the brain, helping improve motor symptoms in patients with PD. However, increasing dopamine levels may also cause changes that lead to hallucinations and delusions.
The natural progression
Hallucinations and delusions may be caused by changes in the brain that occur naturally as PD progresses—regardless of whether or not the person with PD takes any medications to increase dopamine levels.
Watch Jay & Diane’s story
Diane’s husband, Jay, experiences hallucinations and delusions related to PD. In this video, Diane talks about the challenges of caregiving and how learning about other people's experiences with PD has helped her feel less alone.
These stories represent the experiences of actual patients and caregivers. The opinions expressed are their own, and individual experiences may vary. Always speak with your healthcare provider.
The challenges of Parkinson's disease–related hallucinations and delusions
More than motor symptoms
People who develop nonmotor symptoms associated with PD like hallucinations or delusions often have to deal with a broader set of challenges and more limitations to their activities of daily life.
Changes at home
Hallucinations and delusions can increase the distress of people with PD and the people who care for them.
Losing touch with reality
As hallucinations progress, the people who experience them may lose the ability to identify whether or not what they’re experiencing is real.
It's not surprising that PD-related hallucinations and delusions can also present emotional issues for everyone involved. These symptoms can cause emotional distress and increase the burden on the caregiver. It’s important to remember that these symptoms are a part of the disease.
See personal stories about living with PD-related hallucinations and delusions
Get more information about PD‑related hallucinations and delusions
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION and INDICATION
WARNING: INCREASED RISK OF DEATH IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA–RELATED PSYCHOSIS
Medicines like NUPLAZID can raise the risk of death in elderly people who have lost touch with reality (psychosis) due to confusion and memory loss (dementia).
NUPLAZID is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis unrelated to the hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.
- Do not take NUPLAZID if you have had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in NUPLAZID. Allergic reactions have included rash, hives, swelling of the tongue, mouth, lips, or face, throat tightness, and shortness of breath.
NUPLAZID may cause serious side effects including:
QT Interval Prolongation: NUPLAZID may increase the risk of changes to your heart rhythm. This risk may increase if NUPLAZID is taken with certain other medications known to prolong the QT interval. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take or have recently taken.
Do not take NUPLAZID if you have certain heart conditions that change your heart rhythm. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about this possible side effect. Call your healthcare provider if you feel a change in your heartbeat.
- Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take. Other medicines may affect how NUPLAZID works. Some medicines should not be taken with NUPLAZID. Your healthcare provider can tell you if it is safe to take NUPLAZID with your other medicines. Do not start or stop any medicines while taking NUPLAZID without talking to your healthcare provider first.
- The common side effects of NUPLAZID include swelling in the legs or arms, nausea, confusion, hallucination, constipation, and changes to normal walking. These are not all the possible side effects of NUPLAZID. For more information, ask your healthcare provider about this medicine.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1‑800‑FDA‑1088.
You can also call Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. at 1‑844‑4ACADIA (1‑844‑422‑2342).
NUPLAZID is a prescription medicine used to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease psychosis.
Dosage and Administration
The recommended dose of NUPLAZID is one 34 mg capsule once per day, taken by mouth.
NUPLAZID is available as 34 mg capsules and 10 mg tablets.
Please read the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING.