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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1991 October; 54(10): 870–872.
PMCID: PMC1014569

The apomorphine test in parkinsonian syndromes.


The dopamine receptor agonist apomorphine has been used successfully to treat on-off swings in Parkinson's disease. Its value as a predictor of dopa responsiveness in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) was assessed and its potential role in differentiating IPD from the Parkinsonian plus syndromes (PPS) of multisystem atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy and olivopontocerebellar atrophy was investigated. The response to an injection of apomorphine was observed in 20 patients with IPD and eight with PPS after being off levodopa for 12 hours. Patients were reassessed after taking levodopa for one month. Nineteen of the 20 patients (95%) with IPD showed a positive response to apomorphine and 18 (90%) to oral levodopa. In the PPS group, two patients (25%) responded to the apomorphine injection but not to oral levodopa. Apomorphine produced severe drowsiness in the PPS patients. It is suggested that the test can predict dopa responsiveness in IPD and may be of help in confirming a doubtful diagnosis. It has potential value in differentiating IPD from PPS.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Stibe CM, Lees AJ, Kempster PA, Stern GM. Subcutaneous apomorphine in parkinsonian on-off oscillations. Lancet. 1988 Feb 20;1(8582):403–406. [PubMed]
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