Long-term duodenal levodopa infusion in Parkinson’s disease: a 3-year motor and cognitive follow-up study
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- Zibetti, M., Merola, A., Ricchi, V. et al. J Neurol (2013) 260: 105. doi:10.1007/s00415-012-6597-0
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Duodenal infusion of levodopa/carbidopa gel (Duodopa) is an effective treatment option for advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD). Long-term clinical experience up to 16 years suggests that the safety of this procedure is acceptable, while several observational studies showed that Duodopa reduces motor fluctuations and dyskinesias improving patients’ quality of life (QoL). The aim of this study is to investigate the long-term motor and cognitive outcome of Duodopa treatment in advanced PD patients and its’ impact on the QoL. Twenty-five consecutive PD patients were assessed using the Unified PD rating scale (UPDRS), a battery of neuropsychological tests, and the PD questionnaire (PDQ-39) at baseline and after a mean period of three years of Duodopa treatment. Seventeen out of 25 patients reached the follow-up evaluation; five patients discontinued Duodopa and three patients died of causes unrelated to drug infusion. Duodopa improved motor complications (UPDRS-IV) and quality of life (PDQ-39). A sub-group of subjects (41 %) developed a significant deterioration of cognitive functions over time. The most common adverse events were dislocation and the kinking of the intestinal tube. In conclusion, Duodopa therapy is effective in the long-term treatment of advanced PD patients. Continuous enteral levodopa infusion achieves a reduction of motor fluctuations and dyskinesias improving patients’ QoL, despite the progression of PD motor symptoms and a significant decline in cognitive functions in a sub-group of patients.