Levodopa responsiveness in disorders with parkinsonism: a review of the literature

Mov Disord. 2007 Nov 15;22(15):2141-8; quiz 2295. doi: 10.1002/mds.21578.


A literature review was conducted to investigate whether or not levodopa (LD) responsiveness (LR) is a useful criterion in the diagnosis of parkinsonian disorders. Although LR does appear to differ among the parkinsonian disorders, there is considerable confusion in the literature. While most patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) have a sustained benefit from LD, a small minority of patients with documented PD do not respond. The literature suggests that the LR rate is higher for multiple system atrophy (MSA), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD) than based on published diagnostic criteria. Magnitude and duration of response to LD and tolerability (time course, type and distribution of dyskinesias, mental effects and motor worsening) may be useful features in distinguishing PD, MSA, PSP, and CBD. Efforts should be directed toward better defining LR when used for diagnostic purposes and in scientific publications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinsonian Disorders / drug therapy*


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Levodopa