Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate, by means of (123)I-FP-CIT SPECT, the effect of chronic treatment with levodopa on striatal dopamine transporter (DAT) in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Methods: Fifteen patients under stable levodopa/carbidopa monotherapy were imaged twice: at baseline on medication and after at least 20 days of treatment wash-out. DAT levels were assessed from SPECT imaging for the entire striatum, the right and left striatum, the right and left putamen and the right and left caudate, as a ratio of regional brain activities using the formula: (striatal region of interest-occipital)/occipital.
Results: During levodopa wash-out, despite a worsening in patients' clinical disability (H&Y mean stage 2.53+/-0.58 versus 1.73+/-0.45 on therapy, p<0.001), striatal( 123)I-FP-CIT levels were not significantly different from those at baseline in any of the brain regions examined.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that levodopa does not affect( 123)I-FP-CIT brain imaging and confirm that it is not necessary to withdraw this medication to measure DAT levels with SPECT.