Gait disturbance and imbalance are the major symptoms of Parkinson disease (PD), with fall being the most undesirable consequence. However, few effective evidence-based treatments are available for alleviating these symptoms and preventing falls. Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) are a well-established treatment for PD dementia with possible impacts on gait, balance, and fall reduction. The present study involved a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to investigate the effects of ChEIs on gait, balance, and fall in patients with PD. We searched for studies using the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases. The major outcomes were effects on gait parameters, balance, and fall. This study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42021254733). Five RCTs were included in the present meta-analysis. ChEIs did not significantly increase gait speed in PD patients (mean difference [MD]: 0.03 m/s, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.02 to 0.07, p = 0.29). However, ChEI treatment significantly decreased step or stride variability during the single task (standard MD: −0.43, 95% CI = −0.79 to −0.06, p = 0.02). Regarding fall and balance, trending but nonsignificant beneficial effects were observed with ChEI treatment. In conclusion, although ChEI treatment did not significantly improve gait speed and reduce fall, it can significantly reduce step or stride variability. Considering that gait disorder is a challenging issue in patients with PD and that ChEIs are generally tolerable, the present meta-analysis may provide more evidence for the benefit of ChEIs on PD gait disturbance as an alternative treatment consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
Journalnpj Parkinson's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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