HomeHow To Treat Dyskinesia In Parkinson's

How To Treat Dyskinesia In Parkinson’s

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Causes Of Dyskinesia In Pd Patients

How do you Treat / Reduce / Control Parkinson’s Dyskinesia?

Dyskinesia highly occurs in people who take Levodopa medications, which is a common medication for treating PD. Since Levodopa increases dopamine levels in the brain, and that is what PD patients need. Wherein when having Parkinsons disease, the cells ability to produce dopamine reduces, and levodopa replaces dopamine. However, the dopamine level increases when taking levodopa and decreases when its effect subsides, leading to dyskinesia.

Mechanisms Of Action In Reducing Levodopa

Pallidal stimulation

Restoration of the thalamocortical activity by suppression of the inhibitory output from the pallidum to the ventrolateral thalamus is the suspected mechanism for motor improvement underpinning GPi DBS, however, the cellular mechanisms of high-frequency stimulation are still unknown. The mechanism of GPi DBS in reducing dyskinesia is also not completely understood. The current views of the BG physiology suggest that inhibition of ventral GPi activity should induce dyskinesia, however, lesioning of the ventral pallidum provides relief of dyskinesia . One of the possible justifications for this apparent paradoxical response is that LID may be more correlated with an abnormal pattern than with the direction and intensity of the neuronal activity within the GPi . Surgical modification of this patterned activity might be accomplished by lesioning or with DBS . Dyskinesia might also arise from an abnormal balance of activity within different functional zones of the nucleus and stimulation may suppress this abnormal activity . Finally, the anti-dyskinetic effect of GPi DBS maybe mediated through effects on the subthalamopallidal tract, which projects to the dorsal GP externus and GPi. Dorsal GPi stimulation might inhibit this projection and would be expected to improve PD symptoms and induce dyskinesia .

STN stimulation

Dyskinesia And Wearing Off

If youve been taking a Parkinsons drug that contains levodopa for example, co-beneldopa or co-careldopa for some time, you may develop motor fluctuations, wearing off and dyskinesia. These are side effects that can affect your movement.

Dyskinesia is muscle movements that people with Parkinsons cant control. They can include twitches, jerks, twisting or writhing movements. Dyskinesia can affect various parts of the body such as the arms, legs and torso.

There are different types of movements, and when and how often they appear can be different for each person with Parkinsons. Some people can have dyskinesia for most of the day. Others may only experience it after taking their medication or just before the next dose is due.

People with Parkinsons can also experience this side effect when levodopa is at its highest level in the bloodstream , and the dopamine levels in their brains are at their highest. Dopamine is a chemical messenger made in the brain. The symptoms of Parkinson’s appear when dopamine levels become too low.

Because dyskinesia causes people to move around so much it can sometimes cause weight loss. If youre worried about this, speak to your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse. They can refer you to a dietitian, who will be able to help you maintain a healthy weight.

If you go from having good control of your movement symptoms to having less control, its called a motor fluctuation. This change can happen slowly or quickly.

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Treatment Management Of Dyskinesia In Parkinsons Disease

Treatment of dyskinesia is challenging. Several treatment strategies have been developed that strike the right balance between dyskinesia and improved mobility. Summaries of those strategies follow:

Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Why Dyskinesia Develops As A Result Of Parkinsons Disease Medications

First Drug Approved for Dyskinesia in Parkinson

Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder identified by resting tremors and muscle rigidity. Medications used for Parkinsons disease are among the most recognized causes of dyskinesia. The medications that are used to control the symptoms of Parkinsons disease are called dopaminergic medications. As these dopaminergic medications increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, they effectively reduce the symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Dyskinesia does not typically occur as the result of only a few doses of dopaminergic medications or when using these medications for a short period of time. Because Parkinsons disease is a lifelong condition, people who have the disease need to take dopaminergic medications for years. After several years of taking these medications, people with Parkinsons disease may develop a fairly common delayed side effect of dyskinesia.

There has been a great deal of investigation into whether it is possible to prevent the dyskinesias from developing and whether postponing dopaminergic medications can delay or reduce the development or severity of dyskinesia. But there has not been convincing evidence to show that delaying dopaminergic medication can prevent this side effect from eventually developing or make it less severe in the long run.

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Clinical Features And Classification Of Lid

LID are clinically heterogeneous. They commonly present as chorea or choreoathetosis, though myoclonus, akathasia, ballism and other forms of abnormal movements have also been described. LID generally first appear on the side worst affected by Parkinson’s disease and in legs before arms. This could be related to an early dopaminergic loss in the dorsolateral striatum, the region corresponding somatotopically to the foot area.

Chorea refers to involuntary, rapid, irregular, purposeless, and unsustained movements that seem to flow from one body part to another. The severity of these movements can vary from occasional abnormal movements that are absent at rest and provoked only during active movementfor example, walking or talking to violent large amplitude flinging and flailing arm movementsthe ballism. Often, there are superimposed writhing athetoid movementschoreoathetosis. Dyskinesias may predominantly affect particular body partsfor example, torso, head and neck, limbsor speech or respiratory muscles.

Dystonia is the second most common form of LID presenting as sustained muscle contractions. It occurs either in pure form or in combination with the chorea, in the latter case manifesting as twisting of the leg on walking or the arm being pulled behind the back. Dystonia accounts for greater disability than chorea. Off time dystonias are usually painful.

How Do I Know If Its Parkinsons Disease Dyskinesia Or A Parkinsons Tremor

At times, it can be difficult to distinguish between Parkinsons Disease Dyskinesia and parkinsonian tremor, particularly when the information is based primarily on history. Making the correct diagnosis is critically important, as it can profoundly alter treatment decisions. If a person with Parkinsons is having dyskinesias that are bothersome and/or present most of the time, one option would be to reduce the levodopa dose. On the other hand, if a person with Parkinsons is experiencing a parkinsonian tremor, one would do the exact opposite .

In short, making the wrong decision such as increasing levodopa when the person with Parkinsons actually has bothersome dyskinesias or decreasing the dose when the person with Parkinsons actually has tremor, can significantly compromise normal movement and quality of life.

First and foremost, your doctor must take the time to educate him/herself on your condition before making this distinction. As noted above, dyskinesias are highly irregular and cause a variety of types of movements. Parkinsonian tremor is quite different. It can affect one or more parts of the body and is characterized by regular back and forth oscillations of movement with a frequency of 5-7 cycles per second. If recorded, one would see rhythmic sinusoidal waves of to and fro movements.

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Is Tardive Dyskinesia A Symptom Of Parkinson’s Disease

Tardive dyskinesia is not a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It’s a separate movement disorder caused by long-term use of anti-psychotic medications.

In addition to being a side effect of different medications, tardive dyskinesia also has its own set of symptoms. The movements associated with tardive dyskinesia tend to be more fluid in appearance compared with Parkinson’s dyskinesia.

Drugs that most often cause tardive dyskinesia include:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Perphenazine
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Thioridazine

Advanced Disease: Reducing Or Eliminating Established Dyskinesias

Can we prevent dyskinesia in Parkinson’s?

PD patients eventually need levodopa to help alleviate parkinsonian motor features. When dyskinesia emerges, one strategy is to dose levodopa so that it peaks just below the dyskinesia threshold and administer it frequently enough to avoid wearing off. This typically amounts to administering levodopa in smaller doses more often, which may be inconvenient and result in reduced compliance. At the extreme, liquid levodopa can be used to deliver very small doses of levodopa very frequently however, patients usually find this very inconvenient.

Another strategy is to use higher doses of a dopamine agonist to reduce both the total daily levodopa dose and its frequency or to gradually substitute a dopamine agonist for levodopa . Unfortunately, these strategies rarely work and typically reduce dyskinesias at the expense of less satisfactory control of parkinsonian symptoms.

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What Does Dyskinesia Look Like

Levodopa-induced dyskinesia causes symptoms ranging from writhing or wriggling to dramatic rocking and head bobbing, from minor tics to full-body movements. Dyskinesia can also cause swaying, which can be embarrassing on its own and even more so when youre walking. Some people with dyskinesia fear others will think theyre intoxicated and, combined with other Parkinsons symptoms such as freezing of gait, rigidity, and balance problems, walking around in public can feel too vulnerable to do.

Box 1classification Of Levodopainduced Dyskinesias

  • Peak dose dyskinesia

  • On state dystonia

  • Yoyoing

  • Peakdose dyskinesiasThese are the most common forms of LID and are related to peak plasma levels of levodopa. They involve the head, trunk, and limbs, and sometimes respiratory muscles. Dose reduction can ameliorate them, frequently at the cost of deterioration of parkinsonism. Peakdose dyskinesias are usually choreiform, though in the later stages dystonia can superimpose.

  • Diphasic dyskinesiasThese develop when plasma levodopa levels are rising or falling, but not with the peak levels. They are also called DID . DID are commonly dystonic in nature, though chorea or mixed pattern may occur. They do not respond to levodopa dose reduction and may rather improve with high dose of levodopa.

  • Off state dystoniasThese occur when plasma levodopa levels are low . They are usually pure dystonia occurring as painful spasms in one foot. They respond to levodopa therapy. Rare forms of LID include on state dystonias and yoyo dyskinesia .

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Making The Most Of On Time

If you start to experience your medication wearing off, its important that your drug regime is managed so you can make the most of your on time.

This becomes more complicated if you also begin to have involuntary movements. You might have to decide on a compromise between more on time with involuntary movements, or more off time with other Parkinsons symptoms.

Many people tend to prefer more on time, even with the dyskinesia, but everyone is different and you should discuss your options with your specialist or Parkinsons nurse.

Are There Ways To Manage Dyskinesia

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Once dyskinesia has started it is difficult to treat. However, there are several ways to delay it from starting or reduce it once it has begun.

Supplemental or alternative treatment options

Things you can do on your own

  • Keep a diary that logs the time and frequency of dyskinesia, which will help your doctor assess if your medications are working and help you schedule daily activities when mobility is better.
  • Physical activity, including mild aerobic exercise such as walking, dancing, and swimming, will help keep the body strong and prevent muscle weakening.
  • Stress can make dyskinesia symptoms worse, so find ways to reduce stress and try to keep a positive attitude.
  • Poor sleep at night is associated with dyskinesia. Aim for good sleep quality and try to experiment with different positions in bed that will help you relax and sleep better.

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Use Of Controlledrelease Preparations Of Levodopa

The standard preparation of levodopa with a short halflife has the potential for pulsatile stimulation of the postsynaptic receptors. It was hoped that a controlledrelease formulation with a longer halflife would obviate this problem. However, a study comparing standard formulation of levodopa with a controlledrelease type in early Parkinson’s disease showed no difference in the frequency of LID after 5 years of followup. However, the controlled release formulation has variable absorption and it was administered in a twicedaily regimen. This could have accounted for the failure to achieve continuous dopaminergic stimulation.

Drugs Acting On Nmda Receptors

Based on the importance of overexpression of NMDA receptors in LID, NMDA antagonists have been tried as potential treatment for LID. In monkeys with MPTPinduced lesions, Papa et al reported useful antidyskinetic effects using an experimental selective NMDA antagonist. In humans, amantadine can reduce dyskinesias without worsening parkinsonian symptoms. The antidyskinetic effect of amantidine is mediated via the inhibition of NMDA receptors. In a randomised, doubleblind, placebocontrolled study of 18 consecutive Parkinson’s disease patients, amantidine reduced the duration of LID by 60%. A recent evidencebased review supports the use of amantidine in LID. Tachyphylaxis can be a limiting factor in its use.

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Surgical Treatment Of Dyskinesia In Parkinsons Disease

  • 1Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2Neuroimaging Unit, Institute of Molecular Bioimaging and Physiology, National Research Council , Germaneto, Italy
  • 3Magna Græcia University of Catanzaro, Germaneto, Italy
  • 4Department of Neurology, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA

To Best Understand Dyskinesia You First Have To Know About Dopamine

The What, When, Why, & How of Treating and Managing Parkinsonâs Dyskinesia

Dopamine is a chemical that sends signals between the nerve cells of your brain. These signals help make voluntary movement happen.

As a person with Parkinson’s disease, your brain produces less dopamine over time. This affects how you move and is why you experience tremors, slowness, and other Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

To treat Parkinson’s disease, many doctors use a medication called levodopa, which helps replenish the lack of dopamine in the brain. Increasing dopamine can help ease many of Parkinson’s symptoms. This is called GOOD ON time, also known as ON time without troublesome dyskinesia.

GOOD On time

This occurs when PD medication is working as expected. PD symptoms are well-controlled and people with Parkinson’s are not experiencing dyskinesia

Levodopa works well in treating Parkinsonâs diseaseâoften for several years. As Parkinsonâs disease progresses, levodopa can wear off sooner between doses. At these times, symptoms worsen. This is called OFF time.

OFF time

When your medication, like levodopa, wears off throughout the day and tremors, slowness, and other Parkinson’s disease symptoms return. They may include shakiness and jitters, slowed movement, and difficulty trying to stand

When first initiated on levodopa therapy, Parkinson’s disease symptoms are well-controlled, and these benefits can last for several hours. This is when you experience GOOD ON time.

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Testing A New Way To Treat Dyskinesia


Dr. Philippe Huot

One of the biggest challenges in treating Parkinsons disease is finding ways to reduce dyskinesia, the involuntary movements most people eventually develop as a side effect of being treated with L-DOPA, the medication that reduces or controls their stiffness, tremors and rigidity.

Dr. Philippe Huot, a neurologist and neuroscientist, sees the effects of dyskinesia on the people with Parkinsons he treats at the Centre Hospitalier de lUniversité de Montréals Movement Disorders Clinic. He was recently awarded a one-year, $45,000, Lawrason Foundation pilot project grant by Parkinson Canadas National Research Program to investigate a new treatment for dyskinesia.

For some people it can be really debilitating, he says. They cannot write. They have trouble eating. They have trouble getting dressed. It can be really disturbing and undermine their quality of life.

Thats why Huot is studying a new chemical compound he hopes will alleviate dyskinesia. Hes investigating a compound that modulates glutamate, one of the most abundant neurotransmitters, or naturally occurring chemicals, in the brain. Glutamate helps regulate movement and is also involved in generating these abnormal movements, Huot says.

Using an animal model of Parkinsons disease, Huot is comparing the severity of dyskinesia in animals who receive the new compound in addition to L-DOPA. He is also testing the effect of simply receiving the new compound on its own, or against a placebo.

How Is Parkinsons Disease Dyskinesia Diagnosed

Contrary to many disorders in modern medicine, where sophisticated medical tests are required, in most instances, diagnosis of this is almost purely based on the clinical history and most importantly a physical examination. It can best be made by the well-trained eye of a movement disorder specialist.

The movements can include chorea , athetosis or dystonia . They are typically random in occurrence rather than rhythmically repetitive and can range from very mild to severe. In milder cases, they can be mistaken for normal restlessness, and its not unusual for a person with Parkinsons to be totally unaware of them.

At the other end of the spectrum, Parkinsons Disease Dyskinesia can be quite severe and can significantly interfere with activities of daily living, even affecting gait and balance. The critical point is that these dyskinesias can occur when a person with Parkinsons needs more, not less, levodopa.

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Initiating Therapy With An Agonist And Adding Levodopa When Necessary

Animal data suggest that pulsatile stimulation with short-acting agents is the driving force in the genesis of dyskinesias . Conversely, these short-acting agents do not induce dyskinesias when given in a continuous fashion . In drug-naive, MPTP-lesioned monkeys, the administration of longer-acting dopamine agonists results in significantly less dyskinesia than does levodopa . However, once a long-acting agonist is administered to animals already primed to exhibit dyskinesias with levodopa, the resultant dyskinesias are comparable to those seen in the levodopa group . An MPTP-marmoset study evaluating the combination of ropinirole, a long-acting agonist, plus levodopa showed that the levodopa-dominant group had increasingly intense dyskinesias as the study progressed, whereas the ropinirole-dominant combination produced no greater intensity of dyskinesias than was produced by ropinirole alone.

Clinical studies randomly assigning patients to initial treatment with a dopamine agonist or levodopa have shown a lower risk for dyskinesias in the agonist-treated groups . Retrospective analyses have demonstrated that once levodopa is added, the rate of development of dyskinesias is the same regardless of whether or not the patient was already taking a dopamine agonist . Therefore, it appears that the benefit of initial treatment with a dopamine agonist in lowering the incidence of dyskinesias is related to the ability of the agonist to delay the need for levodopa .


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