Dystonia in untreated parkinsonism

Clin Neuropharmacol. 1986;9(3):293-7. doi: 10.1097/00002826-198606000-00007.


While parkinsonism and dystonia generally are distinct clinical syndromes, both may be prominent features even prior to the use of antiparkinsonian medications. In 10 patients with typical parkinsonism, coincident dystonic features included neck, upper extremity, oromandibular, unilateral upper-lower extremity, and unilateral foot dystonia. Six patients were first affected before the age of 45. For some, dystonia preceded parkinsonism (for 1/2 to 20 years). Limb symptoms tended to be unilateral; in seven patients, parkinsonism also was limited to that side. While levodopa was adequate for improvement of parkinsonism, dystonic symptoms benefited from the combination of levodopa with a dopaminergic ergot. The dystonic features (which also can result from parkinsonian therapy) often add pain and disability to the deficits in parkinsonism. The coexistence of dystonia may constitute a distinctive syndrome of parkinsonism and points to possible etiologic mechanisms shared by these two extrapyramidal disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dystonia / chemically induced
  • Dystonia / complications*
  • Dystonia / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / adverse effects
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy


  • Levodopa