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Longitudinal study of levodopa in Parkinson's disease: effects of the advanced disease phase

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 00:55 authored by Ganga, G, Jane AltyJane Alty, Clissold, BG, Craig, D, Reardon, KA, Schiff, M, Kempster, PA
Thirty-four patients have been studied from the time of initiation of pharmacological treatment in a long-term prospective study of levodopa effects and disease progression in Parkinson's disease. Objective motor scoring of the response to levodopa in defined off states was performed every 3 years. The mean time from the initiation of levodopa treatment to the most recent measurements was 18.2 years. Of 8 patients who are still alive, only 3 had none of the features of the advanced disease phase (dementia, hallucinations, frequent falling). Off-phase motor function worsened at a yearly rate of 1.9% of the maximum disability score, although the plots of the serial scores showed that the magnitude of the levodopa response is well preserved. There was little difference in the rate of progression between patients with tremor-dominant and non-tremor-dominant motor subtypes. Those who developed dementia had more rapid deterioration of motor scores, with significantly worse off-phase (P = .008) and on-phase (P = .03) motor function. A graph of serial scores of patients who have died, aligned for time of death, showed an upward curving trend of motor disability in the last 5 years of the disease course. Its advanced phase may reveal that Parkinson's disease has an exponential pattern of progression.


Publication title

Movement Disorders










Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre



Place of publication

Div John Wiley & Sons Inc, 605 Third Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10158-0012

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Movement Disorder Society

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Treatment of human diseases and conditions

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