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Keywords:

  • autonomic symptoms;
  • cognitive symptoms;
  • sensory symptoms;
  • non motor off;
  • Parkinson's disease

Besides the classic motor swings, many non motor fluctuations may occur in Parkinson's disease, but the clinical spectrum and the frequency of these symptoms are not well recognized. A total of 47 parkinsonian outpatients were questioned about any symptoms associated with off state. Nine patients had no fluctuations, 16 referred only to motor fluctuations and 22 to motor fluctuations associated with non motor symptoms. Overall, these patients referred to 54 symptoms (average 2.3/patients, range 1–6). These symptoms were classified as: autonomic (3 difficulty in swallowing, 7 hot, 11 sweat, 2 cold, 1 pallor, 1 abdominal bloating, 1 abdominal pain, 1 abdominal and genital pain, 5 bladder dysfunction, 2 feet oedema); sensory (7 sensory dyspnoea, 1 pain in lower limbs, 1 internal tremor); cognitive (3 depression, 4 anxiety, 2 panic, 1 drowsiness, 1 confusion). In patients without off periods, the length, severity and the average dosages of levodopa were fewer than in patients with fluctuations. No significant differences were found between patients with motor off and patients with associated non motor off regarding age (71.2±9.6 years vs 71.6±10.7 years), length of the disease (83.2±38.5 months vs 95.9±58.1 months), the Hoehn–Yahr (3.06±0.96 vs 3.02±0.96) and Webster (15.5±6.99 vs 15.1±5.9) scale, the dosages of levodopa (680.9±238.9 mg/die vs 679.7±289.6 mg/die), the number (2.3±1.7 vs 2.8±1.5) and length (6.8±5.2 h vs 7.2±7.1 h) of motor off. The non motor fluctuations were recognized in about 60% of patients with motor fluctuations: usually they were mild and less important than motor off, but sometimes these problems were disabling and led to unnecessary tests and therapies.