Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson Disease: A Kinetic-Dynamic Comparison With Levodopa Standard Formulations

Clin Neuropharmacol. 2015 Sep-Oct;38(5):201-3. doi: 10.1097/WNF.0000000000000098.


Objectives: We compared levodopa (LD) kinetic-dynamic profile of a dose of LD/aromatic amino acid decarboxylase peripheral inhibitors versus a nominally equivalent dose of a commercial Mucuna pruriens (Mucuna) seeds extract in 2 patients with Parkinson disease chronically taking LD standard combined with self-prescribed Mucuna.

Methods: Patients were challenged with a fasting morning dose of 100 mg LD/25 mg carbidopa (patient 1) or benserazide (patient 2) versus 100 mg LD from Mucuna capsules in 2 different sessions, after a 12-hour standard LD formulations' washout. They underwent kinetic-dynamic LD monitoring based on LD dose intake and simultaneous serial assessments of plasma drug concentrations and motor test performances. Quantitative analysis of LD in Mucuna capsules was also performed.

Results: Levodopa bioavailability was markedly lower after Mucuna administration compared with LD standard formulations: in patient 1, peak plasma LD concentration (Cmax) decreased from 2.0 to 1.0 mg/L and the area under the plasma concentration time curve from 137 to 33.6 mg/L per minute; in patient 2, Cmax was 0.7 mg/L after LD/benserazide and nearly undetectable after Mucuna. In patient 1, impaired LD bioavailability from Mucuna resulted in reduced duration and overall extent of drug response compared with LD/carbidopa. In patient 2, no significant subacute LD motor response was observed in either condition. Quantitative analysis of Mucuna formulation confirmed the 100 mg LD content for the utilized capsules.

Conclusions: Our results show an impaired LD bioavailability from Mucuna preparation, as expected by the lacking aromatic amino acid decarboxylase inhibitors coadministration, which might explain the suggested lower dyskinetic potential of Mucuna compared with standard LD formulations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Antiparkinson Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiparkinson Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antiparkinson Agents / pharmacology
  • Benserazide / administration & dosage
  • Benserazide / pharmacokinetics
  • Benserazide / pharmacology*
  • Biological Availability
  • Capsules
  • Carbidopa / administration & dosage
  • Carbidopa / pharmacokinetics
  • Carbidopa / pharmacology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Herb-Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / pharmacokinetics*
  • Levodopa / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Mucuna / chemistry*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Capsules
  • Plant Extracts
  • Levodopa
  • Benserazide
  • Carbidopa