Levodopa Is a Major Player in New Research for Parkinson's Disease


levodopa-carbidopa-gelLevodopa is typically prescribed alongside carbidopa to treat Parkinson’s disease. Brand names Sinemet and Sinemet CR are comprised of levodopa and carbidopa, and systemic levodopa can be found under the names Dopar and Larodopa. Classified as a dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agent, levodopa is also used to treat Periodic Limb Movement Disorder and Restless Legs Syndrome when used as montherapy. In combination with carbidopa conditions such as GTP-CH Deficiency and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome are also effectively treated alongside levodopa. Superior treatment for Parkinson’s has been found when combining carbidopa, entacapone and levodopa, also known as the brand name Stalevo, which is marketed by Orion Pharma/Novartis. Common side effects of levodopa include anxiety, confusion, clenching and teeth grinding, dizziness, fainting, hallucinations, increased hand tremors, nausea, vomiting, numbness and weakness.

Exciting advancements using levodopa were announced from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research on April 20, 2012. Targeting patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease, particularly those who struggle with the levodopa-induced motor complications, such as dyskinesia, this novel method involves a direct deliver gel. Specifically, a levodopa-carbidopa gel is designed to be directly delivered into the small intestine. Results from clinical trials are proving to be successful, and potentially offer similar benefits as does deep brain stimulation, but without the need for brain surgery. Abbott Pharmaceuticals announced uplifting results from the phase 3 double-blind clinical study of levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel, or LCIG. Less “off” time from the medication was documented, as well as increased “on” time without added dyskinesia. Already offered in Europe under the brand name Duodopa, LCIG is an efficacious form of treatment for Parkinson’s patients, which can minimize motor fluctuation with it’s consistent delivery system. While there is a downside to the method of delivery, in that a small pump is attached to the patient’s body during all waking hours, enabling a continuous infusion of LCIG. Inserted into the small intestine with a portable pump, the tube to administer levodopa-carbidopa gel is permanently inserted into the body. For some patients this can lead to tube complications, such as the device kinking or becoming blocked. However, the possibility of an even distribution of both levodopa and carbidopa is hopeful for the patient population suffering from this life altering disease. LGM Pharma supplies Levodopa CAS# 59-92-7 for both compounding and research purposes.

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