RWE 101 – Parkinson’s Disease

Real-world evidence (RWE) refers to clinical evidence regarding the usage and potential benefits or risks of a treatment derived from analysis of real-world data (RWD). RWD can include data from electronic health records (EHRs), claims and billing activities, product and disease registries, patient-generated data, and data gathered from other sources that reflect routine clinical practice.

In the context of Parkinson’s disease (PD), RWE can provide valuable insights into disease prevalence, real-world effectiveness of treatments, adherence to medication, quality of life, and more.

PD affects nearly 1% of individuals aged 60 and over. Real-world data, like those derived from large epidemiological studies or health databases, can help to reveal the true prevalence and incidence of PD in different populations. This information can assist in understanding the disease burden, aid healthcare planning, and inform research directions.

Treatment options for PD, as per conventional evidence, primarily consist of levodopa, dopamine agonists, and MAO-B inhibitors, along with non-pharmacological interventions like physical and occupational therapy, and in some cases, deep brain stimulation.

However, RWE provides additional context to these treatments. For example, RWE studies can demonstrate how these treatments are used in routine clinical practice, outside the controlled environment of clinical trials. They can highlight issues such as medication adherence, side-effects in real-world populations, long-term effectiveness, and the use of combination therapies.

RWE can also be used to understand disparities in treatment access and outcomes in different population subgroups. For instance, it might show that certain racial or socioeconomic groups have poorer access to PD treatments or worse outcomes, indicating the need for targeted interventions.

Moreover, RWE is crucial in identifying unmet needs and directing research towards novel treatments. For example, real-world data might reveal a significant number of PD patients not responding adequately to existing treatments, leading to the exploration of new therapeutic approaches like stem cell or gene therapy.

However, RWE has limitations, such as potential biases related to data collection and confounding factors, which should be taken into account when interpreting results.

In conclusion, RWE has a valuable role in understanding the real-world implications of PD, enhancing our knowledge about the disease, its treatment, and ultimately, improving patient care.

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