Importance of the field: Levodopa is the most effective treatment for Parkinson's disease, so it is important to understand the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic features of this drug. Considering the pharmacokinetics of levodopa and the factors that can modify it are essential for the clinician when prescribing levodopa products in order to maximize their therapeutic effects.
Areas covered in this review: This paper reviews the studies carried out evaluating the interaction between levodopa and dietary factors.
What the reader will gain: The reader will gain a greater understanding of the different dietary factors that can affect levodopa pharmacokinetics and, thus, the therapeutic response that is obtained with this drug in several situations.
Take home message: An understanding of the pharmacokinetics of any drug is crucial for the establishment of its optimal therapeutic regimen, but this assumes a special importance with levodopa, due to its extensive presystemic metabolism, rapid absorption in the proximal small intestine and short plasma half-life. Major problems with levodopa treatment are the fluctuations in clinical response experienced in patients with advanced Parkinson's disease that sometimes are related to the peripheral pharmacokinetics of levodopa. Studies of levodopa interactions are very important to improve patient response to this drug.