Journal of Neurology

, Volume 253, Supplement 7, pp vii7-vii13

First online:

Dystonia in Parkinson’s disease

  • Eduardo TolosaAffiliated withNeurology Service, Institut de Neurociències, Hospital Clínic i Universitari de Barcelona Email author 
  • , Yaroslau ComptaAffiliated withNeurology Service, Institut de Neurociències, Hospital Clínic i Universitari de Barcelona

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Dystonia can occasionally be found in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. It is very uncommon in untreated patients and is more frequently seen as a complication of its treatment. In this review, the various types of dystonia occurring in PD, the differential diagnosis with other parkinsonian syndromes associated with dystonia and treatments available are revised.

Dystonia unrelated to treatment can be typical (blepharospasm, torticollis), atypical (parkinsonian writer’s cramp, camptocormia, anismus), or occurring in early-onset Parkinson disease (the so-called kinesigenic foot dystonia, considered a hallmark of earlyonset Parkinson’s disease). Early and prominent dystonia in untreated patients with parkinsonism should raise the suspicion of other entities other than Parkinson’s disease, such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy or corticobasal degeneration.

In patients on chronic dopaminergic treatment, peak-dose dystonia, diphasic dystonia and off-dystonia can be seen. The later constitutes the major dystonic feature of chronic levodopa therapy, and a wide variety of strategies are available to manage this complication. Among them, deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus has proved to be the most effective one.

Dystonic reactions (mainly involving oculomotor cranial nerves and limbs) in operated patients (especially carriers of deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices) are increasingly being reported, constituting a new type of dystonia in patients with Parkinson’s disease: dystonia linked to surgical treatment.

Key words

Parkinson’s disease atypical parkinsonism dystonia levodopa deep brain stimulation