Levodopa-responsive breathing discomfort in Parkinson’s disease patients

Nicola Tambasco, Nicola Murgia, Pasquale Nigro, Federico Paolini Paoletti, Michele Romoli, Elona Brahimi, Marta Filidei, Simone Simoni, Giacomo Muzi, Paolo Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Parkinson’s disease (PD), respiratory disturbances have been reported and the effect of levodopa on respiratory function remains controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate pulmonary function utilizing spirometric and subjective evaluations in mild to moderated PD. Thirty-four consecutive sporadic PD patients (Hoehn and Yahr scale: 1–3) were prospectively evaluated using clinimetric scales, spirometry and modified Borg scale, all in off- and on-conditions. To check the respiratory function, a follow-up was performed at 4 years in a subgroup of these patients. Spirometric results were normal for all patients in both the on- and off-conditions at baseline. After levodopa administration, in addition to a significant improvement in subjective state of breathing discomfort, the mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC) values and their mean percentages predicted values (FEV1%, VC%, FVC%) were significantly increased (p < 0.05). Moreover, residual volume, total lung capacity, and the FEV1/FVC ratio were not significantly different for the ON and OFF conditions. At 4-year follow-up no resulting variations in the baseline values for FEV1%, FVC% or VC% were revealed. The results from this prospective study suggest that PD patients report frequently pulmonary discomfort. Levodopa improves respiratory symptoms. Pulmonary restrictive and obstructive dysfunctions, when not present at baseline, might not be present at 4-year follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1036
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Borg scale
  • Breathing
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pulmonary function
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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