Inhibition of catechol-O-methyltransferase contributes to more stable levodopa plasma levels



The short plasma half-life limits the antiparkinsonian efficacy of levodopa/carbidopa (LD/CD). Administration of LD/CD with the catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor entacapone in one tablet (LCE) may extend plasma half-life of LD and thus its effect on motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). The objectives of this study were to monitor the motor response to a switch from LD/CD to LCE by a simultaneous performance of an instrumental motor test and rating of motor symptoms and to compare the LD plasma behavior between both conditions in terms of stability. Twenty-one treated PD patients received LD/CD and then the identical oral LD dosage of LCE within a standardized setting on 2 consecutive days. Rating better reflected the motor improvement after LD application than the instrumental test. Motor symptoms of PD patients decreased significantly more during the LCE than the LD/CD condition, probably due to significantly higher LD plasma levels and a significantly less pronounced fall of the LD concentrations following the second LD intake. Our study shows a more stable LD plasma behavior during LCE intake and accordingly a better effect on motor symptoms according to rating outcomes and motor test results to a lesser extent. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society