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Optimizing levodopa therapy for Parkinson’s disease with levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone: implications from a clinical and patient perspective

Authors Brooks DJ

Published 8 February 2008 Volume 2008:4(1) Pages 39—47

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S1660


David J Brooks

Division of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK

Abstract: After 40 years of clinical experience, levodopa remains the gold standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD) despite the recent emergence of a host of new therapies. Some physicians are cautious when prescribing levodopa because of its association with motor complications. Evidence now suggests that levodopa-associated complications are a result of deep troughs in delivery of levodopa to the brain caused by the short plasma half-life of conventional levodopa formulations (levodopa and a dopa decarboxylase inhibitor [DDCI]). Dosing strategies, such as dose increases and dose fractionation, may be effective in the short term. For the longer-term, levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone provides pharmacokinetically optimized levodopa therapy that significantly increases the plasma half-life and bioavailability of levodopa, providing more consistent plasma levodopa levels without deep troughs. Evidence from clinical trials in PD patients experiencing re-emergence of symptoms due to wearing-off has consistently shown that levodopa/DDCI and entacapone significantly increases ON-time and affords greater functionality, as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) with conventional levodopa. These trials have also shown that levodopa/DDCI and entacapone is generally well tolerated, with notable adverse events including worsening dyskinesia, nausea and diarrhea. Patients experiencing re-emergence of symptoms due to wearing-off may benefit from optimized levodopa therapy with levodopa/carbidopa/entacapone.

Keywords: levodopa, wearing-off, dyskinesia, entacapone, Stalevo

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