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Optimizing the selection of Parkinson’s disease patients for neuromodulation using the levodopa challenge test

Abstract

Background

In Parkinson’s disease (PD), early stages are associated with a good long-duration response and as the disease advances, the short-duration response predominates. The transition between the long-duration and short-duration responses may be an important and measurable intermediate stage. A critical criterion in determining the candidature for neuromodulation is a beneficial response to an ‘off–on’ levodopa challenge test. This test is usually reserved for those that have already developed marked short-duration response and are candidates for deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. However, identifying those that are in transition may allow DBS to be offered earlier.

Objective

The objective of the study was to determine if the transition from a long-duration to a short-duration response can be assessed on a levodopa challenge test.

Methods

An ‘off–on” levodopa challenge test was done in sixty-five PD patients divided into four groups based on the disease duration.

Results

OFF motor scores increased in all groups [Mean ± STD; 22.94 ± 8.52, 31.53 ± 9.87, 34.05 ± 9.50, and 33.92 ± 10.15 in groups 1–4, respectively] while a significant response to medication was maintained on ‘off–on’ testing. The mean levodopa equivalency dose in groups 1 and 2 was significantly less than in groups 3 and 4. This transition occurred between years 7 and 9 of disease duration.

Conclusion

Performing a regular levodopa challenge test, when levodopa dose increases substantially, should be considered to determine the ideal time for DBS in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

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Availability of data and material

The data are available on request submitted to the institutional ethics committee.

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Funding

No funding was received for conducting this study.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to study conception and design. Material preparation and data collection were carried out by MP. The first draft of the manuscript was prepared by DK, GG. The writing – review and editing was done by DK, GG and MJ. The study was carried out under the supervision of MJ.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mandar Jog.

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Conflict of interest

The authors have no relevant financial or non-financial interests to disclose.

Ethics statement

The study was approved by the institutional ethics committee and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments (REB #107253).

Consent to participate

An informed consent was obtained from all patients included in the study.

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Cite this article

Kulshreshtha, D., Pieterman, M., Gilmore, G. et al. Optimizing the selection of Parkinson’s disease patients for neuromodulation using the levodopa challenge test. J Neurol 269, 846–852 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-021-10666-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-021-10666-8

Keywords

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Levodopa challenge test
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Short-duration response
  • Long-duration response