Objectives: To compare daytime intraduodenal levodopa/carbidopa infusion as monotherapy with individually optimized conventional combination therapies in patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD) for motor fluctuations and quality of life (QoL).
Methods: Twenty-four patients with motor fluctuations and dyskinesia were studied in a randomized crossover design to compare individualized conventional treatment and intraduodenal infusion of a levodopa/carbidopa gel for 3 + 3 weeks. Video scoring of motor function was assessed by blinded assessors on a global Treatment Response Scale from -3 to 0 to +3 (from severe "off" to "on" to "on" with severe dyskinesia). Patient self-assessment of motor performance and QoL was done using an electronic diary.
Results: Median percentage of ratings in a functional "on" interval (-1 to +1) was increased from 81 to 100% by infusion therapy (p < 0.01). This improvement was accompanied by a decrease in "off" state (p < 0.01) and no increase in dyskinesia. Median Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score decreased from 53 to 35 in favor of infusion (p < 0.05). QoL was improved, using the two instruments: Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 and 15D Quality of Life Instrument (p < 0.01). Adverse events were similar for both treatment strategies.
Conclusions: Continuous intraduodenal infusion of the levodopa/carbidopa enteral gel as monotherapy is safe and clinically superior to a number of individually optimized combinations of conventional oral and subcutaneous medications in patients with motor fluctuations. Intraduodenal infusion of levodopa offers an important alternative in treating patients with advanced Parkinson disease.