Dyskinesia is a frequent and disabling side effect in patients with Parkinson's disease treated with chronic dopatherapy. Preclinical data in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6,-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) monkey suggest that alpha-2 antagonists may reduce dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA)-induced dyskinesia. We assessed, in a pilot randomised placebo-controlled study, the effects of single oral doses (10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg) of idazoxan, an alpha-2 antagonist, on motor parkinsonian disability and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia following an acute oral challenge of L-DOPA in 18 patients with Parkinson's disease. The severity of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia improved after 20 mg idazoxan pretreatment, while there was no concommittant deterioration in the antiparkinsonian response to L-DOPA. These results suggest that blocking alpha-2 receptors in patients with Parkinson's disease might improve L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia without the cost of a return of parkinsonian symptomatology. Further studies are required to assess whether this property could have potential therapeutic applications in the long-term management of dyskinetic patients with Parkinson's disease. © 2001 Movement Disorder Society.