This study investigated whether domperidone could improve gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease who were receiving levodopa therapy. A total of 11 patients were studied. Following a baseline gastric emptying test, patients were treated with a starting dose of domperidone 20 mg p.o. q.i.d. A follow-up gastric emptying test was repeated at least 4 months after starting domperidone therapy. At the beginning and at each 3-month follow-up visit, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal bloating, heartburn, regurgitation, dysphagia, and constipation were evaluated and scored on a scale of 0-3. The overall mean follow-up period was 3 years. Compared with their baseline evaluation, patients experienced a significant improvement in all symptoms (p < 0.05) except dysphagia and constipation. Gastric emptying of an isotope-labeled solid meal was significantly faster, with a baseline result of 60.2 +/- 6.4% retention of isotope 2 h after the meal compared with 37.0 +/- 2.2% retention during domperidone therapy (p < 0.05). Patients' global assessment of Parkinson's disease remained stable or improved. Serum prolactin was elevated in all patients after domperidone therapy (p < 0.05). Domperidone therapy significantly reduces upper gastrointestinal symptoms and accelerates gastric emptying of a solid meal, but does not interfere with response to antiparkinsonism treatment.