Sleep disturbances are common in Parkinson’s Disease (PD), with nocturnal akinesia being one of the most burdensome. Levodopa is frequently used in clinical routine to improve nocturnal akinesia, although evidence is not well proven.
We assessed associations of Levodopa intake with quality of sleep and perception of nocturnal akinesia in three PD cohorts, using the Parkinson’s Disease Sleep Scale (PDSS-2) in two cohorts and a question on nocturnal immobility in one cohort. In one cohort also objective assessment of mobility during sleep was performed, using mobile health technology.
In an independent analysis of all three cohorts (in total n = 1124 PD patients), patients taking Levodopa CR reported a significantly higher burden by nocturnal akinesia than patients without Levodopa. Higher Levodopa intake and MDS-UPDRS part IV scores (indicating motor fluctuations) predicted worse PDSS-2 and higher subjective nocturnal immobility scores, while disease duration and severity were not predictive. Levodopa intake was not associated with objectively changed mobility during sleep.
Our results showed an association of higher Levodopa intake with perception of worse quality of sleep and nocturnal immobility in PD, indicating that Levodopa alone might not be suitable to improve subjective feeling of nocturnal akinesia in PD. In contrast, Levodopa intake was not relevantly associated with objectively measured mobility during sleep. PD patients with motor fluctuations may be particularly affected by subjective perception of nocturnal mobility. This study should motivate further pathophysiological and clinical investigations on the cause of perception of immobility during sleep in PD.