Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of hydrogen inhalation for Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study

Background: Oxidative stress is involved in the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Recent studies have confirmed that molecular hydrogen (H2) functions as a highly effective antioxidant in animal models of PD. A placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group clinical pilot study was conducted to assess the efficacy of hydrogen gas inhalation in Japanese patients with PD on treatment with levodopa. Methods: Twenty participants fulfilling the Movement Disorder Society criteria were enrolled. Participants inhaled 6.5 (0.1) vol% hydrogen gas in 2 L/min of mixed air or placebo air for 16 weeks, twice a day for 1 h. Results: Five participants were excluded due to deviation from the protocol of the total duration of inhalation < 112 h. No significant differences were seen in the change in the total Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score from baseline to the 16th week between the group that inhaled hydrogen gas and the group that inhaled placebo air (Mann-Whitney U test, p > 0.05). No adverse events were seen. The compliance to the protocol-based duration of inhalation time in all participants decreased with the elderly participants, the higher daily dose of levodopa, and the higher PDQ-39 items on emotions (n = 20, p < 0.05). Conclusion: This pilot study revealed that the inhalation of molecular hydrogen gas was safe, but did not show any beneficial effects in patients with PD. Trial registration: UMIN ID: 000,039,217 (October 6, 2018).