Journal of Neurology

, Volume 257, Supplement 2, pp 268–275

The clinical spectrum of levodopa-induced motor complications


  • E. Hametner
    • Department of NeurologyInnsbruck Medical University
  • K. Seppi
    • Department of NeurologyInnsbruck Medical University
    • Department of NeurologyInnsbruck Medical University

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-010-5719-9

Cite this article as:
Hametner, E., Seppi, K. & Poewe, W. J Neurol (2010) 257: 268. doi:10.1007/s00415-010-5719-9


After more than 40 years of clinical use, levodopa (LD) still remains the gold standard for symptomatic efficacy in Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, long-term treatment with LD is often complicated by the development of various types of motor response oscillations as well as drug-induced dyskinesias. These treatment-related motor complications evolve in approximately one-third of patients after only 2 years of LD exposure and, once established, they are difficult to treat and significantly contribute to overall disability and disease burden. Although first described soon after the introduction of LD, the pathophysiology of motor complications is still not completely understood. In fact, it is most likely that non-physiological pulsatile stimulation of dopamine receptors, which is followed by various downstream alterations, plays a key role in the development of LD-induced motor response oscillations and dyskinesias. This review outlines the various types of motor complications and will also address underlying mechanisms, treatment options, as well as impact on clinical disability and quality of life (QoL).


Parkinson’s diseaseMotor response oscillationsLD-induced dyskinesiasMotor fluctuationsLevodopaPulsatile stimulation

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© Springer-Verlag 2010