Affective Changes Associated with L-DOPA Therapy
The dramatic therapeutic effects of L-DOPA in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease have focused attention on psychiatric changes accompanying the administration of this compound (1). While the neurologists were busy studying the effects of DOPA in patients with extrapyramidal disorders, the psychiatrists were assessing the efficacy of L-DOPA in the treatment of depression (2). Based on the hypothesis that depression may be associated with a deficiency in catecholamines proposed by Bunney, Davis, and Schildkraut in the mid-Sixties (3,4), several research groups attempted to administer L-DOPA to depressed patients in order to reverse the presumed deficit in dopamine or norepinephrine (2,5). This paper reviews several of these studies, emphasizing some of the human mood changes associated with the administration of L-DOPA, as well as some of the biochemical effects of this compound. This discussion is particularly relevant in a conference on aging, because most of the patients who will be receiving L-DOPA for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease are patients who are sixty years old or older, some of whom will have a mood change caused by the administration of L-DOPA. Most of the data reviewed in this chapter has been published elsewhere (6).
KeywordsManic Depressive Illness Depressed Patient Monoamine Oxidase Bipolar Patient Affective Change
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